The pressure was on Schaumburgs girls basketball team when it started the season in its very competitive Thanksgiving tournament.
The Saxons turned up the pressure at Buffalo Grove on Tuesday night.
Led by sophomore Jada Blackwells 22 points and 13 rebounds, Schaumburg built a 21-13 lead after one quarter and never looked back in a 62-48 triumph in the Mid-Suburban League crossover.
Jada played great, said Saxons senior guard Amanda Kelly, who along with backcourt mate Riley Williams helped deliver the ball inside.
She really stepped up. Buffalo Grove is a great team and Jada helped get us going.
Three-point plays by senior Carly Brossard and Blackwell, followed by a fastbreak layup by Williams got the Saxons going to an 8-0 lead.
A layup by Mary Zawlocki and back-to-back 3-pointers by sophomore guard Julie Jambrone pulled the Bison even at 8 but Schaumburg used a 14-5 run to draw away to a 22-13 lead early in the second quarter.
Junior Madison Laramie hit a key 3-pointer during the run which was capped by a free throw by Blackwell, who was 6-of-9 at the line with 8 baskets.
Jada stepped up in the paint and showed she can be a dominant player in this league, said Schaumburg coach Ashley Berggren, whose team is 3-3. She was huge.
She can be so versatile. Now that she see herself as a dominant player inside, as well as an outside player, her game will elevate to whole new level.
The level of play in Schaumburgs tourney didnt hurt the Saxons effort on Tuesday.
It was really competitive with Glenbrook South, Montini and Wheaton Warrenville South, Kelly said. So now we are really excited for conference play to start (at Hoffman Estates on Friday).
Brossard and Kelly each added 13 points for Schaumburg while Williams and Laramie each chipped in 7.
Buffalo Grove is going to be a good team, Kelly said. They play great defense and play as a team.
BG (2-4) was led by Jambrones 15 points while Alyssa Mills added 10 and Kim Herzog 7.
Youve got to give Schaumburg credit, said Bison coach Steve Kolodziej. They do a nice job. Those girls play hard.
Mills rebound bank shot with 5:15 left in the third quarter got BG to within 37-32 but Schaumburg responded with a layup by Blackwell and 8-foot bank shot by Brossard to pull away again.
Carly (Brossard) sets up in good position to receive passes from Riley and Amanda, Berggren said. And they found her down low.
We have a lot of athletic players who can get to the ball, and we need to utilize their quickness more.
The Bison utilized their outside shooting with 6 3-pointers, including 3 from Jambrone, 2 from Herzog and one from Sara Brawley.
But Kolodziej wants to see a more confident team when the Bison began MSL East play on Friday at Elk Grove.
I really think it comes down to believing in ourselves and believing in what we can do in game situations, Kolodziej said. There are a lot of doubt demons creeping through the girls heads.
They just dont have the confidence they need. Well go back to two days of practice and get ready for a tough opponent in Elk Grove.