Tigerball wears opposing players down.

Olivet Nazarene women's coach Lauren Stamatis runs a high-paced, full-court trap and shoots as fast as humanly possible on offense.

Most teams have a hard time keeping up after halftime. That was the case Wednesday against Holy Cross. The Tigers owned the third quarter by 23 points to take a 124-95 decision over their Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe at McHie Arena.

"We're hoping to wear people out by subbing every 35 seconds or so," Stamatis said. "We're trying to get that chemistry within those units playing together. By the second half, some teams are not able to keep up with us."

Olivet's 27-point lead after three quarters was extended to 41 points before Stamatis called off the pressure defense, which forced 34 turnovers.

"I think we put a lot better pressure on them in the backcourt," Stamatis said. "Offensively, we were playing better together. We just made that extra kick to an open person to get a rhythm shot."

A number of Tigers contributed to the blowout victory. Olivet (17-3) had six players reach double figures led by Abbey Hengesbach's 21 points. Hengesbach reached a personal milestone scoring her 1,000th point in just under two years at Olivet.

"She's been a great leader for us all year. She can definitely score the ball," Stamatis said. "The best thing about her is she makes everyone around her better. She can probably every time at the basket if she wanted to."

Jess Learned and Ally Giampapa each had 17. Maggie Schmidt had 16 while Jayne Stuart and Tori Lemke score 13 apiece. Olivet shot over 50 percent for the game.

Local product Carlee Nicolas of Momence scored seven points for the Tigers.

Larson leads ONU men to win

Olivet senior Aaron Larson has been a star for four years.

Larson is currently seventh on Olivet's all-time scoring list.

Larson came into Wednesday's game with 1,843 career points and added 35 to help the Tigers to a 74-64 victory.

"He's just been a good example of the way the game should be played," ONU coach Ralph Hodge said. "If he makes mistakes, he owns up to mistakes. He takes responsibility for himself. He's one of the hardest workers of guys getting in the gym and getting work done when it's not a mandatory thing. He's been the heart and soul for us for at least two years."

Larson went on a 7-0 run including a long 3-pointer to extend Olivet's lead to 13 points, but the Tigers never could pull away in the second half.

Holy Cross cut the lead to five points early in the second half, but never got any closer thanks to Larson's dominant performance. Larson answered Holy Cross' run with six consecutive points of his own.

"It's great to have a player like him on the floor. He's been that for us all year long," Hodge said. "He battles, takes a lot of physical punishment but steps up to the plate for us every game."

While the Tigers stopped a two-game losing streak, Hodge knows his team needs to improve.

"The decision-making on our part on the offensive and defensive end is not where it needs to be," Hodge said. "We have to get better at that whether its a pass, a defensive rotation... We're just not there in the totality of the offensive movement on the offensive end or on the defensive end. It's something we're striving for, but we haven't gotten to that point yet."

Outside of Larson, the Tigers (11-7, 10-2) struggled offensively. The rest of the squad shot 12 for 40. Former local high school standout Chris Green scored eight points.

Olivet doesn't have much time to work on things. St. Xavier comes to Bourbonnais on Saturday to take on the Tigers. Hodge has a lot of respect for the Cougars.

"We're going to need to play much better," Hodge said. "They've been playing outstanding basketball in recent weeks."

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please be civil. Don't threaten others. Don't make obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist, sexist or otherwise demeaning statements. Be respectful of others even if you disagree with them.
Please be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Please be proactive. Report abusive posts.
Please share updates or more information. We value your input and opinion.