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Jordyn Platt's motivation Wednesday in Lisle hit extra close to home.
"Their coach (Lisle's Dan Murray) is my stepdad," said the Timothy Christian senior, "and I used to play for him before. This was a big one for me personally."
Platt played like a little extra was at stake, scoring 14 points with 9 rebounds as the Trojans held off a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat Lisle 43-41.
Timothy Christian saw a 16-point lead with seven minutes left slip away but held on.
"It was a rough one for us down the stretch. We started to lose our composure a little bit," Platt said. "But I thought we played strong for the most part."
Timothy Christian (10-5) led from start to finish. Platt knocked down a 3-pointer to end the third quarter, and a Cassidy Block jumper gave the Trojans their biggest lead, 35-19, with 7:20 left. But the Trojans turned the ball over 6 times in the fourth quarter, and after the sixth Tara Sarb made a driving layup for Lisle to make it 41-39 with 37 seconds left.
The Trojans missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw, but a shot from in close for the tie by Lisle's Darian Payne didn't go down. Two Kari LeGrand free throws gave the Trojans breathing room.
"Taking a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter you never think it's going to come down to a missed 2-footer to tie the game," Trojans coach Ryan DeKoekkoek said. "We did a pretty poor job the last half of that quarter of taking care of the ball. We reminded them in a timeout, 'They're not going to score if we don't give them the ball.' We gave them the ball way too much. Give credit to Lisle, they were playing a little desperate basketball."
Lisle (11-5) lost its third straight after a 10-game win streak, but the late comeback could be a spark to build on. Sarb scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers to bring Lisle within 41-35 with 1:23 left. Nicole Urban scored 6 of her 10 in the final quarter, taking in a pair of driving layups.
"When you see us play with that aggressive nature and focus, we can be a good basketball team," Murray said. "You also saw the other side tonight. How we played in the fourth quarter is the type of basketball team we want to be."
Block had 8 points and 5 rebounds for Timothy Christian, which held a commanding 35-21 advantage on the glass. The Trojans' man defense also pushed Lisle out to the perimeter, by design.
"Lisle's man sets, they like to get their offense started deep into the court," DeKoekkoek said. "We wanted to get them extended toward halfcourt to get their sets started. We did that very well for the majority of the game."
Stephanie Petkovsek had 6 points and 7 rebounds for Lisle, further hurt by 9-of-24 shooting at the free-throw line. Those numbers loomed large as the margin drew closer.
"I was extremely proud of the girls for not giving up," Murray said. "We could have easily cashed it in. We found it within ourselves to battle."