Don't talk to Chantilly senior Kate Kreager about the flu. After battling the illness for the past week, she was well enough last night to contribute a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in the No. 20 Chargers' 50-43 AAA Concorde District victory over Centreville.
"I felt much better tonight than I had against Falls Church," said a coughing Kreager, referring to the career-high 38 points she scored against the Jaguars earlier this week. "It is hard to explain."
Kreager, who missed a few practices this week, might have felt worse at halftime than she had at any time while she was sick--mostly because Centreville (6-5, 0-1) held a 20-19 lead. But the Chargers (10-1, 1-0) used a 21-10 run to start the second half and took a 42-30 lead following a field goal by Kreager with five minutes remaining. Kreager scored 10 points in the spurt.
In addition to getting the ball to Kreager more often in the second half, the Chargers also switched to a four-guard offense to better protect the ball. The strategy worked, as Chantilly committed six turnovers in the second half after turning it over 13 times in the first half.
"The girls were shocked at halftime when they realized that Centreville wanted to win much more than they did," Chantilly Coach John Kelly said. "This is such a big game and we came out in the third quarter and finally began to outhustle them. On offense, we went with four guards, spread things out and got the ball to Katie."
Getting the ball to Kreager has helped Chantilly to the best start in school history. The 6-foot-1 forward, who has signed to play next season with Xavier, entered last night averaging 26.1 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. Kreager, Ashley Wallace (two points) and Eileen Williams (12 points) have been on the varsity since they were freshmen. That year, the team went 3-17 and went 4-16 the following season. Chantilly finished 12-10 last season, for the most victories in school history.
Last night, however, the Chargers' main objective was to earn a win for their seniors in their final game at Centreville, just three miles from Chantilly.
Centreville was led by Jennifer Schafer, who had a team-high 10 points. Joanna Duggan added nine points. The Wildcats' defense held Chantilly to almost 18 points below its season average. Last night also marked the first time in four games that Chantilly failed to score at least 70 points.
Note: In the boys game that followed, Chantilly senior guard Mike Scott scored 12 second-half points and the No. 13 Chargers held on to defeat host Centreville 40-38 in the Concorde opener for both teams. Centreville trailed 40-34 with 34 seconds left before junior guard Steven Harvin scored four points to cut the deficit to 40-38 with 20.1 seconds left.
CAPTION: Centreville guard Jessica Gosnell drives past the defense of Chantilly's Ashley Wallace, who after four varsity seasons is enjoying success.