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Kester Shoots Warriors to Sweet 16!

February 19, 2013
Sterling High School


Daily Gazette Article

Pop signer Alecia Keys has a hit song entitled “This Girl is on Fire.” That song title appropriately described senior Stephanie Kester Monday in the SHS Girls’ Basketball teams’ 60-54 IHSA 3A Sectional semifinal win over Rockford-Lutheran at Genoa-Kingston High School. 


Kester hit her first five three point attempts, and ended up with six for the game (tying the school record), en route to a career-high 24-point effort.


The Golden Warriors (21-12), who have been known for getting off to slow starts in recent games, bolted out of the gate in this one, scoring the first 11 points and never relinquishing the lead.  McKenna Pearson and Kaitlyn Bauer scored four points each, and Kester hit her first three during the game opening run.


Luthern (22-7) did not get any closer than nine points the remainder of the first half, and the Golden Warriors led 28-18 at the break.


Kester’s fifth three of the night midway through the third quarter gave SHS its largest lead at 39-23.  That’s when Lutheran responded with huge rally – a quick 17-2 flurry to cut the SHS lead to one at 41-40.  Kester responded with her sixth three in the closing seconds of the quarter to make it 44-40 heading into the final eight minutes.


Kester’s three was the start of 13-4 SHS run that, for all intents and purposes, clinched the game.  Bauer scored four quick points to open the fourth quarter.  Lutheran’s all-stater Rachel Konieczki (26 points, 10-26 FG) sandwiched a pair of baskets around a Kester two-pointer, before Bauer and Gabby Sandoval scored on back-to-back transition layups to extend the lead to 10 at 54-44.  Lutheran would get no closer than six the rest of the game.


Bauer and Pearson both recorded double-figure scoring games with 12 and 10 points respectively. Kester ended up 8-11 from the field, including 6-7 from three-point range.  Kiarra Harris had an off night from a scoring standpoint, but managed to equal her career-high with 16 rebounds, and dish out six assists.  Sandoval scored eight points and had five assists.


Sterling is now in the “Sweet 16” of class of 3A, advancing to the sectional championship game for the first time since 2007.  The Golden Warriors will head back to Genoa-Kingston High School Thursday (7:30 p.m.) to take on Burlington-Central (25-4) or Woodstock-Marian (16-11) in the championship game.  BC and Marian play their semifinal Tuesday night.


Thursday’s winner advances to the Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional Monday.

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