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Sandburg’s Claire Callaghan dribbles during the opening round of the Eagles own holiday tournament on Dec. 27. The Eagles finished second in the tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Sandburg’s Claire Callaghan dribbles during the opening round of the Eagles own holiday tournament on Dec. 27. The Eagles finished second in the tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Girls Basketball: Sandburg falls to LW Central in champ game of Holiday Tournament

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

Two years ago, a group of promising freshmen were bumped up to the varsity at Sandburg, joining an already stellar sophomore in Erin O’Connell.

The team went through some growing pains in 2019-20 but flirted with 20 wins, finishing 19-12. Then there were some pains of playing an abbreviated schedule during the 2020-2021 season due to COVID-19, and they finished 11-6.

This year, there is not as much pain – except that which the Eagles have been inflicting on opponents.

During the 2021 portion of the season, the Eagles went 13-3 season, which included a 10-game winning streak.

One of those games was a huge 74-65 road win over Naperville Central on Dec. 22. The Huskies entered the game 11-1 and were ranked No. 1 in the state by MaxPreps at the time.

“We were firing on all cylinders,” Eagles coach Nick Fotopoulos said. “We were proud of that game.”

Sandburg’s winning streak came to an end on Dec. 29 with a 54-49 loss to red-hot Lincoln-Way Central in the championship game of the Sandburg Holiday Tournament.

Junior Charlotte Trunk led the Eagles with 23 points in that game, but it was tough going for Sandburg after getting off to a quick 8-3 lead.

Earlier in the tournament, the Eagles beat West Chicago, 71-9, and Glenbard West, 65-31.

O’Connor and junior Josie Canellis were named to the all-tournament team.

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Oak Lawn’s Mia Kennelly fights through traffic against Hammond Central in the first round of the Sandburg Holiday Tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

The second half of the season promises to be challenging, with two games each against SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue foes Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Bolingbrook and Homewood-Flossmoor.

The coming weeks will see teams jockeying for postseason seeds. The Eagles are in the Class 4A Bolingbrook Sectional and will host a regional.

Marist, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way Central and the hosts are strong squads that could make a run for top-four seeds in the 16-team regional.

Oak Lawn and Riverside-Brookfield were also in the Sandburg tournament.

The Spartans opened with an impressive 68-23 victory over Hammond Central but fell in the second round to Lincoln-Way East, 62-37. They lost a consolation game to Providence Catholic, 68-47, and finished seventh.

Three of the 16 teams pulled out because of COVID-19 concerns.

Mia Kennelly was named to the all-tournament team.

Riverside-Brookfield had a rough go early, dropping a first-round game, 72-16, to eventual champion Lincoln-Way Central. The Bulldogs had success in the first round of the consolation bracket with a 67-39 victory over Hammond Central.

Luna Lloyd had 16 points in the win over Hammond.

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Riverside-Brookfield’s Hannah Organ, a Miami (Ohio) University softball recruit, tries to move the ball against Lincoln-Way Central in a tournament game in Orland Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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