With Thursday's Class 4A Hoffman Estates girls basketball sectional final on the line, Bartlett's all-senior lineup did what seniors do.
Bartlett came from behind in the fourth quarter to force overtime, then defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 54-51 to advance to Monday's Elgin supersectional against DeKalb.
"Words cannot describe how important this game was and how amazing this one feels," senior forward Lisa Palmer said. "We have basically a team of seniors, and we all wanted to go out there and finish our senior season strong. We weren't ready for it to be over yet."
WW South took the lead midway through the second quarter and held it the next 16 minutes, Bartlett (30-1) going up 40-39 on Haley Videckis' breakaway layup with 4:30 left in the fourth.
"I told them at halftime, I said, ladies, they're too good a team to just lay over," WW South coach Rob Kroehnke said. "They're going to come after you, so you better be ready and they did. And we answered their run and we had a chance. That's all you can ask for is a chance. Next time we'll get it done."
The Indiana-bound Videckis was a big reason for Bartlett's comeback. Held to 2 points in the first half, she finished with 19, including 6 of Bartlett's 7 overtime points.
"I saw her and (Kristin) Conniff had 6 at half. I knew that was nice but probably not going to hold up," Kroehnke said.
Conniff's basket with 25 seconds to go in regulation tied the game, and the Bartlett defense held firm in the final seconds.
"We really, really, really tried to focus on the defense and rebounding," Hawks coach Denise Sarna said.
"We were in foul trouble with Meghan (Waldron)," Tigers senior Kasey Gassensmith said. "We were a little worried about that. Momentum definitely turned to their side."
WW South sophomore Melinda Franke scored the first basket of overtime, but Bartlett ran off a 6-0 run over the next three minutes to take control.
"I guess when you have all these seniors, that's what they're supposed to do, and we showed good poise," Sarna said.
"We've been through some big games, and you like to think that your sophomores and your freshmen and your juniors are ready, and I thought we were ready," Kroehnke said of his young squad. "And I told the freshmen and sophomores and juniors, you want to do anything for these seniors, take the next step next year."
Waldron, a sophomore point guard, finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists despite foul trouble.
"We really tried to work hard on containing Waldron," Sarna said. "We had a couple of kids working on that job with Nicole Gobbo and Katie Gutzwiller. I thought they both did a really good job. She's a tough kid to guard."
Bartlett guard Janessa Baker scored 11 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, but Palmer was the Hawks' leader on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds to go with her 6 points. Conniff added 10 points.
"We had a fantastic defensive effort," Gassensmith said. "I mean, that team scores 70 points every game, so I think for them to score only in the 50s was great. I really couldn't ask for any more from this team."
The Tigers finished 28-4, their four losses coming by a total of 16 points.
"Hats off to Wheaton Warrenville South," Sarna said. "They are one tough team. I thought they played a great game. Just a great basketball game. A cleanly played game by two teams that are fighting hard and two very talented teams."
"You can't ask for anything more," Kroehnke said. "They worked their tails off, played so hard. We knew it was going to come down to the little things, and that's what it did. A couple of miscues here and there, and against a great team like that, they make you pay, and they did."