STERLING – Kaitlyn Bauer was paying close attention in practice when the Sterling second team ran the Geneseo offense.
She knew her chance to give her coach Julie Schroeder a great birthday present would be there. She just had to wait for her chance on defense Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs at Musgrove Fieldhouse.
That chance came midway through the second quarter when she picked the pocket of a Geneseo player, took the ball down the court and finished with a layup.
She did it again two possessions later, and the rout was on. It ended with Warriors winning 48-29 to remain undefeated in the NIB-12 West.
"It was coach Schroeder's birthday, so we really wanted to play hard for her tonight," Bauer said. "When we ran the Geneseo offense in practice, I knew that there'd be a girl out there like that. She didn't get control of the ball, and I just went after it."
"Kaitlyn just played an awesome game," Schroeder said. "She was out there running the whole time. We know that if we can get out and run that not many teams are going to be able to keep up. We did that tonight."
The score remained close through the first quarter. Sterling led 12-8 at the close of the quarter, and the teams traded baskets to start the second quarter to make it 14-10.
From there, Sterling went on a 12-0 run that started with a three-point play by junior forward Kiarra Harris.
Harris then assisted Alexis Strong on a layup to put the Warriors up 19-10.
The dagger came moments later, as Bauer stole the ball near the Sterling bench and raced down the court for the layup. After another defensive stop, Stephanie Kester got involved as her 3-point attempt bounced off the rim and then fell back down into the hoop.
On the next possession, Bauer stole the ball on the opposite side of the court from the Sterling bench and finished again, which put Sterling up 26-10.
"I think that was a momentum change," Bauer said. "We want to run like that the whole game, and once we got going like that, we started playing really well."
By the time the second quarter was over, Sterling had outscored Geneseo 20-5 to lead 32-13.
The Warriors scored 16 points in the second half, allowing Geneseo as close as 15 points at the start of the fourth quarter.
"We did the same thing in the first game with them in Geneseo," Schroeder said. "We jumped out in the first half and then they closed the gap a little bit in the second half. It's tough when you get up by that much to keep going, but I told them not to let it within 15, and they did that."
Bauer led the team in points (12), rebounds (7) and steals (6). Kester finished with three 3-pointers and 11 points. Harris had five points and five assists.
Geneseo was led Molly DeBrock with 12 points. Darci Dietrich and Jamie DeFauw each had eight rebounds.
Sterling remains a game ahead of Ottawa in the NIB-12 race, with Dixon and Geneseo both three games behind at 3-3.
Star of the game: Katilyn Bauer, Sterling, 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals
Key performers: Molly DeBrock, Geneseo, 12 points, 4 rebounds; Stephanie Kester, Sterling, 11 points, three 3-pointers
Up next: Dixon at Sterling, 7:30 p.m. Friday
FYI: Friday's game will be a "Crazy for a Cure" event, as both teams will be raising funds for cancer awareness. There will also be a dessert raffle.