Girls Basketball: Aurora Central rolls past Wheaton Academy
Updated: January 24, 2012 10:28PM
Aurora Central Catholic coach Mark Fitzgerald has quietly been building a Class 2A powerhouse in the west suburbs. Well, maybe not so quietly.
“People in the stands know what I’m thinking at all times,” he said. “I can’t keep anything inside.”
Fitzgerald was working the sidelines again Tuesday, and he and the Charger fans were rewarded with the team’s 18th victory in 23 games, a 62-48 win over visiting Wheaton Academy in a Suburban Christian Conference crossover.
Jackie Cardona led the Chargers with 22 points, eight rebounds and four steals, Lisa Rodriguez added 17 points, Tesa Alderman added 10 points and Ashley Wilk had four points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
“These kids respond,” Fitzgerald said. “They respond. They’re not the tallest team, we’re probably not even the quickest team, but they respond. They execute and they continue to keep coming back.
“The thing that separates us from a lot of teams in the number of weapons we have,” he added. “When one is down, the other picks them up. I’m very pleased with where we’re going right now.
“If we play our game and keep our eyes on the prize and not look ahead, things could be very exciting around here,” Fitzgerald said.
But the Chargers will need more performances like Tuesday’s from Cardona, a three-year varsity starter who scored to give ACC a 20-8 lead with 4:10 remaining in the second quarter.
“Jackie has been a weapon for four years now,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re very thankful that she’s here.”
ACC extended its lead to 46-30 early in the fourth quarter on a drive by Cardona, and maintained that lead at 54-38 on an Alderman bucket at the 2:07 mark.
Wheaton Academy got three-pointers from Kat Maret and Kelly Nemec and two free throws from Sarah Drury to get within 56-46, but that was as close as the visitors would get. Cardona made two free throws with 42.8 seconds remaining to give the Chargers a 61-46 lead.
“When someone is down, when somebody isn’t hitting, we always have someone else who is able to step up,” Cardona said. “That’s what helped us win today. Everybody was stepping up. We have a deep bench so we can interchange.
“We just have to keep playing hard and make sure we always hustle,” the 5-foot-10 senior said. “We have to keep our defense going because if we let our defense down, that’s when our offense starts to slow down. We have to keep pushing the ball and keep our defense going.”
Wheaton Academy (12-8, 5-2 in the SCC Gold) was led by Ally Witt with 12 points, Drury with 11 points and eight rebounds and Nemec with nine points. The Warriors were badly outrebounded by the Chargers and often limited to one shot.
“Rebounding has been a struggle for us,” Wheaton Academy coach Beth Mitchell said. “We really struggled on the boards. ACC does a great job crashing the boards. We had a hard time finding players and getting a body on them. Rebounding was definitely a big factor in the game.”
Drury, a 6-foot senior forward, was the only player with more than four rebounds for Wheaton Academy.
“Drury has really developed into a nice player for us,” Mitchell said. “She takes her knocks on the inside, but she keeps fighting and she battles. She’s a tough player. Witt does a great job penetrating and trying to get the ball to her.”