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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Eisenhower falls to Stoney Creek in district opener

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Eisenhower executed 66 percent of its game plan to perfection in Monday night's district quarterfinal game against Stoney Creek at Rochester High School.

However, it was the other 33 percent that in the end sent the Eagles packing their bags for the season.

Eisenhower did an excellent job on defense and rebounding the basketball against the taller Cougars, but the Eagles couldn't get enough offensive shots to fall, dropping a hard-fought 41-26 decision to Stoney Creek.

"We did everything we thought we had to do except we couldn't score tonight," Eisenhower coach Mike Satawa said. "We said there were three things we had to do. We had to box out, we had to be aggressive on defense and we had to make shots. We did two of those, especially in the second half."

The Eagles managed to take an early 5-4 lead on a layup by Laura Makarewicz with 3:53 left in the opening quarter, before the Cougars ended the period with a 6-0 run on three points each by Emma Sobczynski and Lauren Voss, gaining a 10-5 lead after one quarter.

"We knew this was going to be a low-scoring game," Satawa said. "We knew every possession offensively and defensively were going to be critical. We had to make sure we had the right girls on the floor at the right time."

The Cougars began the second quarter with a 9-0 run, extending their advantage to 19-5 on a trey by Voss with 3:47 left before halftime.

Eisenhower ended the first half with a 5-3 run, including a putback by Nicole Meyer with 57 seconds left, cutting its deficit to 22-10 at intermission.

"The first half we weren't talking on defense," Satawa said. "We didn't know who we were guarding and everything we keyed on all week surrounded guarding (Maria Zandi) and (Lauren Voss). Those two are their bread-and-butter players."

The Eagles played better defense in the third quarter, but couldn't get their shots to fall offensively, as both teams scored eight points in the period, which left Stoney Creek with a 30-18 edge heading into the final eight minutes.

Eisenhower managed to whittle the Cougar lead down to 35-26 on a free throw by Natalie Nowak with 56 seconds to play, before Stoney Creek sealed the win by making 6-of-8 free throws in the final minute.

"We challenged them at halftime and told them this could be the final 16 minutes of their season," Satawa said. "They needed to go out and play better than they did in the first half and they responded. I thought we had some great looks, but couldn't get them to fall."

Eisenhower was led by Nowak with 13 points, while Makarewicz added eight points. Jessica Esser had 16 rebounds and two steals, while Jenna Smolarek had seven boards, and Katie Hayes had three steals.

"We've come a long way since the start of the year," Satawa said. "We had our MAC meeting last Saturday and all the coaches in our division (MAC White) said playing us the second time around was completely different than the first time. Our goal was to play our best basketball at the end of the season and I thought we were playing our best basketball at the end."

The loss ended the Eagles' season at 7-13 overall. Satawa said coaching this group, which included eight seniors, was a pleasure.

"I wish this group was coming back, but this has been a great senior class," Satawa said. "You can't ask for anything more when eight seniors welcome you and a new coaching staff into their family. It could've been ugly, but they welcomed and adjusted to us. It was a thrill to coach them and more importantly, getting to know them as individuals."

Stoney Creek was paced by Zandi with 17 points, including eight in the final quarter, while Voss added 16 points, and Sobczynski finished with four points. The Cougars move on to Wednesday night's district semifinal contest against Stevenson at Rochester High School.

Last Updated: 2/26/2013 1:03:10 PM EST