Glenbard South went to Wheaton North's Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Classic looking to cut some bigger schools down to size, but Tuesday the Raiders learned some of these big schools put up a pretty big fight.
Glenbrook South pulled out a 64-63 victory against the Raiders in a quarterfinal game that left the Raiders wistful about a game that got away.
"We beat ourselves today, that's the bottom line," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said. "We did a lot of things that were kind of out of character."
But the Titans (10-4) also did a lot right. They made 20 of 26 free-throw attempts, caused the Raiders (11-2) problems bringing the ball upcourt with their press and hit the boards hard, with Ali Shaw and Amelia Hummel combining for 17 rebounds. They shot 20 of 41 from the field, including 5 of 6 in the final quarter.
"They played a good game," Fonda said. "They're a physical team, and I told our team that, that they're not just going to roll over just because we're 11-1. They have to play our game, day in and day out."
"Every time we play them it's a good game. We've played them the last three years and every game has been a great game," Titans coach Steve Weissenstein said.
Glenbard South, the smallest school in the tournament by about 500 students, looked good in taking a 14-6 first-quarter lead, only to see it evaporate in a 9-0 Titans run. It didn't help that the Raiders lost senior super-sub Bridget Anderson to a head injury as the Titans took the lead.
"We went up and we let them creep back in," Fonda said. "We should have closed the door and we didn't in the first half. We let them back in the game and they worked their butts off. They deserve it."
The Titans took their biggest lead at 38-31 in the third, but the Raiders fought back to pull ahead 42-41 on Alyse Cates' basket with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
The teams fought over the lead in the fourth quarter like a tug-of-war rope, with Glenbrook South taking the final lead with 54 seconds to play on Ali Shaw's 3-pointer for a 60-57 score.
"They made a run in the beginning, they made another run and we made some runs ourselves," Weissenstein said. "And in the second half was just (went) back and forth. It was a great game. It just kind of wound up whoever had the ball last was going to win. Ali hit that big 3 to give us a nice little cushion there, but it was just a great high school basketball game."
Shaw finished with a game-high 21 points that included four 3-pointers. Hummel added 17 points.
The Raiders got balanced scoring from their starting five, with Danielle Chitkowski scoring 15 to lead the way. Cates and Nevena Markovic each scored 14, Patrice Hicks 11 and Sarah Engelhardt 9, but they felt Anderson's loss when the bench came up empty.
"That's a game we should win with this scoring," Fonda said. "And obviously Bridget going down hurts us too, it doesn't give me any flexibility."
Markovic added 11 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals to her totals.
The Class 3A Raiders get another shot at a Class 4A school when they play Elk Grove at 4:30 p.m. today.
"The response will be tomorrow," Fonda said. "How they come out tomorrow is going to tell the story about us as a team. They need to learn from it, and they need to really show that they're a team to contend with or we're just an average team that when we play the bigger schools we're going to hang in there instead of shut the door like we should have in the first half."