NEW LENOX – The only blemish on the Lincoln-Way West girl’s basketball team record came on February 11th with a 57-48 loss to Lincoln-Way Central in the Warriors second game of the season. After a big win over Bolingbrook on Saturday, West wanted to keep that momentum going in this rivalry match-up as both teams were 4-1 in the SouthWest Suburban Conference Red Division.
West (9-1, 5-1) trailed 27-19 with 4:00 left in the first half, but outscored the Knights 34-14 the remainder of the way to get the 53-41 victory.
Central (6-4, 4-2) was on fire as they hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter and took an 18-13 and then hit three more 3′s and built that 27-19 lead with 4:00 left in the half. Haley Stoklosa (14 points) hit four of those three’s as she scored seven consecutive points after the Warriors had taken a brief 19-18 lead by scoring six consecutive points to start the second quarter.
“They were so hot to begin the game with those three quick 3-pointers and we were hoping they wouldn’t keep that up,” West coach Ryan White said. “We kept driving to the basket and we got them into foul trouble and our free throw shooting really helped us. We have been shooting real well at the line and that came through again in the first half. Those final two to three minutes of the first half were a big momentum change in our favor.
“This is such a rivalry game that you never feel safe until it’s over, and this game was big for the conference race.”
Two big keys for the Warriors to stay in the game in the first half was the free throw shooting, as the Warriors were 12-of-15 and hitting 3′s at the buzzer at the end of the first two quarters.
Tara Gugliuzza (21 points) hit the buzzer beater to end they first quarter and then after she scored seven quick points in less than two-minutes, Allie Wondrasek hit a three, just beating the buzzer to end the half as the Warriors took a 33-30 halftime lead.
“I knew we didn’t have much time (2.2 seconds) on the in-bounds pass to end the half, but when I got the ball I had to take one dribble to get open and I hit it,” Wondrasek said. “The end of the half was a big shift in the game for us and this was a revenge game for sure after they beat us earlier in the season.”
The Warriors’ Evan Pittman (seven points) used the inside to start the second half with an old fashioned three and then hit a basket on the Warriors next possession to give them a 38-30 lead and the Knights would never get closer than six points for the remainder of the game. Pittman was a key figure in the lane defensively as she had seven blocked shots and had nine rebounds.
“Coach told us at halftime we needed to get more inside looks early in the third quarter because of the foul trouble Central was in,” Pittman said. “I like scoring, but my pride and joy is helping this team with the blocks and rebounds. I love to play defense.”
Central couldn’t get anything going in the second half as they only scored 11 points and missed 10 consecutive three-point attempts, until finally hitting two late in the fourth quarter.
“Our team has had a couple of real slow starts to begin games, but today we were ready to play and came out on fire,” Central coach Dave Campanile said. “I’m so proud of that and we were missing a key player in Megan Hutchinson. The foul trouble in the first half hurt, especially at the end of the half when we had to sit a few players and you can not give a talented team like West the opportunity to come back.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle