Senior Clare Nelson (pictured above) played the best game of her career, and the Loyola girls basketball team bounced back from its first loss of the season in a big way with a 47-38 win over New Trier on Friday in Winnetka.
Nelson, a 6-foot forward, scored 19 points, including a basket in the post at the 6:24 mark of the fourth quarter that put the Ramblers (3-1) ahead 40-35. Later in the quarter, she stole the ball and was intentionally fouled. She made both free throws to give Loyola a 44-36 lead with 3 minutes, 11 seconds to go.
After the Ramblers got possession back, they were able to run more than two minutes off the clock. The Trevians (2-2) attempted only three shots in the final 1:06, finally scoring their first basket of the quarter with 14.9 seconds left.
Loyola committed 67 turnovers in its first three games, but the Ramblers took much better care of the basketball Friday, turning it over only four times in the second half. They finished with a season-low 15 turnovers.
“We played with the composure of a Loyola team,” Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “We were patient with the ball and finished around the rim. The one thing we stressed at the half was to not to turn it over as much in the second half, and we did that.”
Schoenecker applauded the play of Nelson, whose junior season was cut short in January with a concussion. Coming into Friday, she had scored four points in three games.
“I am so happy for her, especially her being a senior and playing so well in a rivalry win,” he said.
Loyola grabbed control of the game with a 9-0 run to end the first half to go into the break with a 26-23 lead. Sophomore guard Celia Satter made a 3-pointer at the 2:20 mark of the second quarter before junior guard Erin Dillon and senior guard Madison Kane hit 3s in the final 18 seconds.
“That was crucial,” Schoenecker said. “Momentum is huge in a rivalry game. That gave us some breathing room.”
Sophomore guard Julia Martinez finished with 12 points, and junior forward Lilly Wehman contributed six points.
Loyola concludes New Trier’s Thanksgiving tournament Saturday against Marian Catholic. Tip is set for 12:30 p.m. at New Trier.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola