Defense always has been a staple of Jeremy Schoenecker-coached squads.
And it was again on Dec. 23, when Loyola Academy claimed a convincing 66-46 victory over host Niles West.
But the Ramblers also have hit their stride on the offensive end. The team has now put 66 points on the board on back-to-back nights. On Dec. 22, they zoomed past visiting Taft 66-36.
LA is on a roll — 9-3 with three straight wins — as it gets ready to play in a tournament in Meza, Arizona next week (Dec. 27-30).
“Our defense is always there,” said LA junior Lilly Wehman. “We had been a struggling a little on offense. But I think we’ve turned the corner.”
“I think we’re starting to figure some things out offensively,” LA head coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “It was nice to see the ball go through the hoop.”
The Ramblers used a balanced attack to take down Niles West. They had three players score in double figures: Clare Nelson (19 points), Julia Martinez (14 points) and Wehman (10 points).
Martinez certainly was a stat stuffer. She wasn’t far off from a quadruple double. Besides the 14 points and 10 rebounds, the sophomore collected seven steals and seven assists.
Martinez has the ability to speed up things on both ends of the court. She plays at a super fast pace.
“Julia likes to play downhill,” said Schoenecker. “She can control the tempo of a game.”
Martinez also is a “proverbial coach” on the court.
“She’s got a great feel for the game,” Schoenecker said. “We’ve never had a point guard quite like her.”
Nelson also had some very good moments in this win. Late in the second quarter, she scored eight points in a 1-minute, 7-second time span.
Nelson tallied seven points in the third quarter, while she wound up going 7-for-7 from the foul line.
Wehman displayed her versatility. She hit a three-pointer on top in the first quarter and converted a three-point play in the second quarter.
The 6-foot-2 Wehman also was relentless on the defensive end, finishing with three blocks.
Niles West has an emerging star in its lineup in 5-8 sophomore guard Sam Galanopoulos. Her 19 points matched Nelson’s output.
And her style of play was comparable to Martinez’s.
“She’s a really nice player,” said Schoenecker. “She does a lot for them.
“It was fun watching her and Julia go after it tonight,” the LA coach added.
Loyola’s Game Balls: Julia Martinez, Clare Nelson, Lilly Wehman
Niles West Game Ball: Sam Galanopoulos
Player of the Game: Martinez
Loyola’s Stat Leaders: Martinez (14 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 steals), Nelson (19 points, 6 rebounds), Wehman (10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks), Madison Kane (8 points), Erin Dillon (6 points), Celia Satter (6 points, 2 rebounds)
Niles West’s Stat Leader: Galanopoulos (19 points)