Girls basketball: Glenbard South tops Glenbard East in key Upstate Eight game

Rheayanna Ferguson

LOMBARD – Starting sophomore point guard Rheayanna Ferguson missed contributing to the Glenbard South girls basketball team’s run to the 2023 Upstate Eight Conference title.

Ferguson suffered a season-ending torn ACL during winter break and had surgery Feb. 24, 2023.

”I missed a lot of the season. It took a big toll on me. But my teammates, my coaches, family, other family members were there to back me up. Now I’m back,” Ferguson said. ”Definitely, I’m my old me. I feel better than my old me, actually. I know I put in the work, so whatever happens, happens. I just play my full out every game.”

The Raiders, too, are looking pretty sharp.

Facing essentially a must-win situation, they moved into a first-place tie atop the UEC with rival Glenbard East by beating the Rams 46-21 in front of their Pack the Place crowd.

With two league games left, the Raiders (20-7) and Rams (20-8) are both 15-1 in the conference. Glenbard South won the 2023 title outright with one loss. These Raiders have won seven straight since losing to the Rams for the second time this season 39-38 on Jan. 13 in Glen Ellyn on a basket with six seconds left by senior Catey Carney, the Rams’ all-time leading scorer.

”These last few weeks we’ve been ascending to where I think we’re capable of,” Glenbard South coach Eric Daca said. ”This was a big step [in conference], but our job’s not done. This was huge, especially in this environment, Pack the Place night at their place. This was a great, great win for us.”

Brooklynn Moore (14 points, 9 rebounds), Allie Mizwicki (12 points on four 3-pointers) and Sofia Alcala (8 points, 10 rebounds) paced the Raiders offensively.

Ferguson (5 assists) established the tone in the man-to-man defense by primarily guarding Carney.

The Raiders owned a 13-0 lead after the first quarter. With the Raiders ahead 21-11 at halftime, they scored on their first four possessions of the third quarter on back-to-back 3s by Nowicki and back-to-back inside buckets by Moore to pull away at 29-11.

”We had some tenacity. We came into here knowing we wanted to win. We just knew that we had to get them back and it was ours to take,” Moore said. ”For our seniors, just thinking about my team, I know [conference] means so much. There’s so much to think about we can do this twice in a row and have our number on that banner [in the main gym].”

The Rams are seeking their first conference title since the days before joining the DuPage Valley Conference in 1983. Ciara Johnson led the Rams with nine points. Carney, Johnson and Erin Brown each had five rebounds.

Between contested shots and bad luck, the Rams couldn’t buy a first-quarter bucket, missing 15 shots with Carney taking eight.

Carney became a distributor, taking six more shots and scoring on a turnaround right of the lane with 5:30 left.

”Just working hard, just being ready to play her. She’s a good player and my coaches have trust in me and my teammates were trusting me,” Ferguson said. “They definitely helped. When I got beat, my teammates were always there and always slowing it down.”

”Usually we’ve done a decent job and [Carney] really started hitting the last time,” Daca said. “[It’s] a testament not only to Rae’s defense as the primary defender but all of the girls with their help. They got no easy looks.”

In the previous meeting, Carney scored 21 points and became the Rams’ all-time leading scorer during the victory. The Rams also prevailed 41-28 on Nov. 21 at East as part of the District 87 Rachel Bach Tournament.

”[Conference] is big for them. The kids have worked really hard. Today just wasn’t a good game all around,” Glenbard East coach Nicole Miller said. “We did not shoot well. They executed. They were really coming after us.

”Lots of shots bouncing off [early]. We missed a lot of strange, short shots. It was bizarre. It was just not our night. They’re still putting up a heck of a season.”