Lindbergh High girls fall 78-40 to Cor Jesu in district tournament

By STEPHEN GLOVER

For the Call

After winning the first round game of districts against Oakville 38-37 and then upsetting top-seed Seckman 54-49, the Lindbergh High School girls’ basketball team suffered a disappointing 78-40 pounding by Cor Jesu Academy.

“We were a little nervous,” Lindbergh Head Coach Bill Thoele told the Call. “We got a lot of good looks, but just didn’t shoot well. You’ve got to give Cor Jesu a lot of credit, they did what they needed to do to win.”

The Flyers (17-10, 5-2 Suburban West) found themselves down 31-23 at the half and it was a 19-7 run by Cor Jesu in the third quarter that put the game out of reach. In the loss, Lindbergh suffered its worst shooting performance of the season by going 12 of 53 – 22.64 percent – from the floor.

“They (Cor Jesu) pressed and played good half-court defense and we rushed our shots a little bit,” Thoele said. “I’m not going to make excuses, Cor Jesu is a good team and they deserved to win.”

Leading the Flyers in scoring was sophomore forward Paula Smith, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. Smith has been one of the key cogs in the Lindbergh offense this season by averaging 13 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. She led the team in blocked shots (25) and was the Flyers’ best free-throw shooter this season (95 of 123, 77.24 percent).

“We’ve come to expect those kinds of numbers from her every game,” Thoele said. “I only expect her to get better and better for next year.”

The Flyers will lose three seniors this season in center Michelle Elfrank, forward Kate Sanders and guard Michelle Spencer.

Elfrank averaged 4.6 points and pulled down 5.3 rebounds a match, which was third on the team. Sanders scored 3.1 points a game for the Flyers, while grabbing 3.3 rebounds a contest.

“Michelle (Elfrank) is probably our most physical person on the team,” Thoele said. “She plays great defense and leads by example. Kate’s also developed into being a great defensive player. She’s probably been the most vocal of all the seniors this year.”

Spencer racked up 7.8 points a game, while posting 2.4 rebounds a contest. Her 150 assists this season ranked her fourth in the metro area.

“Michelle (Spencer) was the glue that held us together all year,” Thoele said. “She was an important part of our offense and we couldn’t have done everything we did without her. It’s really going to be hard to replace our three seniors.”

Despite losing three seniors this season, the Flyers will be looking to return nine players from this year’s roster. The team will continue to work together over the summer to reach its goals of a conference and district championship.

“I expect us to improve even more this summer,” Thoele said. “I would be disappointed if we didn’t have as good of a season – if not better.”

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