BURLINGTON – Crystal Lake Central’s Ella Madalinski found her shot in the second quarter against Burlington Central, so her Tigers teammates kept looking her way.
“If we see someone is having a great game or popping off, you’ve got to use that,” junior guard Katie Hamill said. “My girl Ella had so many 3s. You’ve got to fire her up and keep her going.”
After missing her first four shots, Madalinski was good on her next three 3-pointers, all in the second quarter, as the Tigers took their first lead and didn’t look back.
Crystal Lake Central scored 11 consecutive points in the quarter, played tough defense and grabbed a 49-42 victory against Burlington Central in their Fox Valley Conference game Friday.
Girls hoops: CL Central 39, Burlington Central 29, end 3rd. Katie Hamill with 17 points for the Tigers. Here’s a bucket by Addison Cleary at the end of the quarter. pic.twitter.com/UMFcdPvOJw— Alex Kantecki (@akantecki) January 28, 2023
With the win, the Tigers (13-10, 8-4 FVC) jumped ahead of the Rockets (15-9, 7-5) in the FVC standings. Crystal Lake Central has won eight of its past nine games.
A junior, Madalinski (nine points) passed credit to teammates after her big second quarter.
“For me, it has a lot to do with confidence,” said Madalinski, whose 3 to open the second gave the Tigers the lead. “I get a lot of passes from Leah [Spychala] from the post, and that gets me going. It’s just everybody working together, getting one more pass that helps me make my shot.”
Hamill, averaging more than 20 points a game this season, has been the focal point of opposing defenses, so getting someone else involved offensively was key.
Crystal Lake Central trailed 7-5 after the first quarter but took a 24-18 lead at halftime on the strength of an 11-0 run. The Tigers led by as many as 14 points in the second half.
“You’ve got to have that threat form the outside to make a defense honest,” Tigers coach Derek Crabill said. “Even if she’s not making a ton of shots, she helps keep a defense honest. And tonight, we needed her to score, and she did.”
Hamill finished with a game-high 24 points and 14 rebounds, also picking up four steals. Addison Cleary, Katie Barth (three steals) and Katie Svigelj tossed in four points each.
Crystal Lake Central was without Hamill, Barth and Svigelj when the Tigers and Rockets first met Dec. 6, a lopsided 46-16 win for Burlington Central.
Hamill followed a three-point first quarter with six points in the second, eight in the third and six in the fourth. She was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line and extended many offensive possessions with tough rebounding.
“I think the thing that sets [Hamill] apart from a lot of players is her aggressiveness,” Crabill said. “She knows it’s not just about the points. ... If you get offensive boards, that means you’re probably going to get to double dip a little bit.”
Burlington Central coach Collin Kalamatas was impressed with Hamill.
“She’s just so talented on every level of the floor,” Kalamatas said. “What’s most impressive to me is her footwork. She’s phenomenal using her pivots to score, and that’s a rare skill you don’t see in many high schoolers nowadays. That kind of footwork, it’s hard to duplicate in practice. She’s been face-guarded all year, and she’s really learning how to get her other teammates involved.
“She did a phenomenal job tonight.”
The Rockets stayed close to the Tigers on the strength of their 3-point shooting. Nine of their 14 field goals were 3s.
Sam Origel led Burlington Central with 13 points and four 3s, while Emily Menke (three 3s) and Emma Payton had nine points apiece. Page Erickson added seven points, and Paige Greenhagel had 11 rebounds.
Madalinski felt the Tigers’ defense helped turn the game around.
“I think we did a good job of staying bouncy, staying on our toes,” she said. “We were really agile and moved quickly.”