Girls Basketball: East Aurora coasts past Planfield SouthDesiree Rhodes (21) of East Aurora puts up a shot off of a rebound with Leslie Hamilton of Plainfield South at her back. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 13, 2012 9:33PM
In order to set up a third match-up against Upstate Eight Valley rival Waubonsie Valley Tuesday, East Aurora’s girls basketball team had to take care of business against Plainfield South Monday.
The Tomcats accomplished that mission.
East Aurora coasted to a 44-21 win in the Class 4A Waubonsie Valley Regional quarterfinals Monday to set up a semifinal match-up against the host Warriors, the No. 3 seed in the sectional, Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The Tomcats did it with smothering defense, forcing 35 turnovers, and a 41-to-34 rebounding advantage, finishing the game off on a 14-2 run to win going away.
“We had to really fight hard and pick them up man-to-man a lot, a lot of tenacious defense, diving on the floor,” East Aurora assistant coach Lee Clayborn said.
With only seven players available due to illness and other factors, the Tomcats rotated frequently, and everybody contributed. The Tomcats (11-19) put together a 10-0 run in the first quarter and outscored Plainfield South (1-23) 12-3 in the second quarter to carry a 22-9 lead into the half. The Cougars only got as close as 10 points, 27-17 on a pair of free throws from Tyiesha Steele, in the second half, however.
East Aurora continued to force turnovers, 19 in the second half, and rebound the ball to keep extending the lead and keep the Cougars at bay. The final margin of 23 was East’s largest lead of the game.
“Basically, we just got in the passing lanes and anticipated the next pass,” East Aurora senior Marta Medina said. “Hard work pays off.”
Medina hauled down 13 rebounds to go with her 12 points in the win. Tyshee Towner led all scorers with 14 points for the Tomcats and Alexis Wren added eight points off the bench. Leslie Hamilton posted 10 points and 10 rebounds in the loss for Plainfield South.
East Aurora lost to Waubonsie Valley both times they played in conference play this season, but the Tomcats are hoping to make a run at the Warriors the third time around Tuesday.
“Waubonsie is the best team in our area,” Clayborn said. “They’re tough to defend end line to end line. We just have to take care of our part. If we take care of our responsibilities and do our part, we should be OK.”