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Sports

Girls Basketball: Maggie Bair, Raiders keep rolling, advance to second round at Wheaton North

Glenbard South junior Maggie Bair gets a shot up in front of IC Catholic senior Kiersten King during their game Dec. 5 at Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn.
Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com
Glenbard South junior Maggie Bair gets a shot up in front of IC Catholic senior Kiersten King during their game Dec. 5 at Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn. Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com

Sarah Cohen and her Glenbard South girls basketball teammates gladly share the basketball.

“Just the movement of everyone [is important],” said Cohen, a senior. “If we just keep moving, it makes it a lot easier to pass to the spot that they’re going to and it gives them opportunities.”

Junior Maggie Bair was the main recipient in Tuesday’s opening game of Wheaton North’s Bill Neibch Falcon Classic. She delivered with 25 points in the Raiders’ 48-31 victory over Hinsdale Central.

Glenbard South (11-1), the No. 3 seed riding an 11-game winning streak, advances to play No. 6 Bartlett (7-5) in a 3 p.m. Wednesday quarterfinal. Hinsdale Central (3-8) plays Jacobs (4-7) at 10:30 a.m.

Of the Raiders’ 20 field goals, including five threes, 17 came with assists – nine by senior Mady Carli and five from Cohen.

“The posts did a great job getting open and moving to the open spots. They make it easy to sink the ball in there,” Carli said.

The 6-foot-2 Bair scored 17 of the Raiders’ first 22 points en route to a 29-13 halftime lead. Senior Ally Daca and Carli each added nine points.

“One of the nice things about our team is we share the ball really well. I don’t have any selfish players,” Glenbard South coach Morgan Kasperek said. “They do a nice job of reading the defense and kicking it to the open player. Especially early on, there were a lot of assists.”

Bair hit her first seven shots, including both of her threes. She finished 11-for-15 shooting (9-for- 9 from two-point range) with 11 rebounds and two blocked shots.

“I haven’t been shooting that well lately but today I think I focused on moving to wherever my teammates were going, moving to the ball. Then I just had to get my feet set,” Bair said.

With her size, Bair could have been content being solely an inside force. But even as a freshman she dedicated herself to adding a perimeter game. Last season, Bair won the Class 3A Queen of the Hill three-point shooting title. She and Kasperek give most of the credit to assistant coach Steve Gross.

“Sophomore year, I felt a little more confident and thought I would shoot more, but it’s all Gross. He helped us all with our form,” Bair said.

Cohen hit the game-winning throws in last year's first-round game with Hinsdale Central, a 38-37 Glenbard South win.

Cohen had just two points Tuesday yet contributed in other ways, such as multiple steals and back-to-back assists to Bair and Carli on the first two possessions of the second half for a 33-13 lead. The Raiders also led 30-17 in rebounds.

“Everyone on our team can shoot. Everyone can drive. Everyone can post up,” Bair said. “That’s what helps us win games. We’re all very versatile.”

Hinsdale Central has eight seniors but returns no starters. Senior reserve Abby Howell and freshman guard Molly Sheehan had 10 and eight points, respectively, with two threes apiece.

The Raiders’ veteran group with four multi-year starters wants to improve on last year’s fifth-place Falcon Classic finish. The 17-point victory Tuesday was their closest since edging Downers Grove North 42-40 Nov. 22 to move to 3-1.

“[This tournament is] a test of where we’re at,” Bair said. “It’ll definitely test our mental and physical toughness. I think we can take ourselves a lot further in the postseason if we do well playing tougher teams.”

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