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Bella Finnegan led Mother McAuley with 26 points against Sandburg last Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Bella Finnegan led Mother McAuley with 26 points against Sandburg last Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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Girls Basketball: Well-traveled Macs have happy homecoming

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Bella Finnegan led Mother McAuley with 26 points against Sandburg last Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

The kids were putting on a show for the kids.

Mother McAuley’s girls basketball team has three sophomores starting on the varsity and the Mighty Macs won their first home game of the season with a 48-39 non-conference won over Sandburg last Thursday in front of a crowd that featured several area eighth-grade basketball players.

They saw the Macs’ youth but also saw senior and Indiana State recruit Bella Finnegan show of both inside and outside skills en route to a 26-point performance.

She added 16 points and 11 rebounds in a 59-49 victory over St. Ignatius on Dec. 4 in a Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Red win. Sophomore Grace Gambotz had 19 points in that game and sophomore Morgan Feil had 13 points.

Feil also had 11 points against Sandburg including seven in the fourth quarter.

McAuley finished third and made five trips to the Bison Classic in Buffalo Grove and had an away game at Loyola before the first home game.

“We had 500, maybe even 600 miles on the bus before this,” Mighty Macs coach Keisha Newell said. “So, it was good to be home.”

Sandburg had won three straight games at the Brenda Whitesell Invitational at Hinsdale South before dropping a 50-21 decision to Nazareth in the tournament’s championship game.

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Charlotte Trunk of Sandburg rifles a pass in a loss at Mother McAuley. Photo by Jeff Vorva

The Eagles were hoping to get back on track at McAuley and led 25-23 at halftime and 32-28 with 5 minutes and 11 seconds left in the third quarter but McAuley reeled off 10 straight.

Sandburg had one more shot when it tied the score at 38 with 3:33 left but Feil and Finnegan combined to shoot 10 free throws the rest of the way to ice the win.

“Credit our defense, we played hard,” Sandburg coach Nick Fotopoulos said. “We got good looks but the shots weren’t falling.”

Josie Canellis led Sandburg with 10 points.

The Eagles got back on the winning track with a 55-35 home win over Oak Lawn on Saturday as Charlotte Trunk exploded for 22 points and brought down 12 rebounds. Dani Antoine added 20 points.

The Eagles were scheduled for a SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover game with at Bradley-Bourbonnais on Tuesday and host District 230 rival Stagg at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

McAuley has some huge games coming up including Thursday’s neighborhood showdown at Marist.

But another venture awaits the Mighty Macs.

Newell is a part of a team known as Grow The Game and that group will host an eight-team tournament Dec. 20-22 at New Trier and North Central College in Naperville.

McAuley plays New Trier in the opening round. The other six teams are Norcross from Georgia, Yorkville, Hersey, Payton, St. Ignatius and TF North.

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Sandburg’s Claire Callaghan, left, defends Mother McAuley’s Natalie McKenna in a non-conference battle in Chicago. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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