Glenbard South snapped two streaks with one victory Thursday.
The Raiders advanced to the Falcon Classic's semifinals for the first time with a 43-37 win against Willowbrook, ending the Warriors' eight-game winning streak in the process.
"We're excited," Raiders sophomore Ivana Markovic said. "This is the furthest we've ever got. It's going to be fun."
The Raiders will play host Wheaton North in the tournament semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday, a rematch of the teams' physical Dec. 15 meeting won by the Falcons 49-37.
Glenbard South (13-3) led 30-24 after three quarters, but Willowbrook made that up in a hurry, starting the fourth with an 11-0 run.
"It was kind of a slow start for us, but we pulled through and got everything going," Markovic said.
Glenbard South didn't quit, however, tying the game at 36 on sophomore Jenna Brambora's basket with 3:27 to play, then taking the lead again for good on junior Tomei Ball's two free throws with 2:07 left. The Raiders made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 2:22 to seal the victory.
"They executed at the end and made free throws and that's how you've got to do it in some circumstances," said Raiders coach Julie Fonda, whose team has never finished higher than fifth at Wheaton North. "Willowbrook's a great team, and I think when it came down to it, it was whoever could withstand the energy level of playing back-to-back games. We played an intense game (a victory against Schaumburg) and they played an intense game against West Aurora yesterday."
"We made too many mistakes today, threw the ball away," said Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell, whose team committed 7 of its 14 turnovers in the fourth quarter. "We had the press beat, just made too many bad passes. And we missed layups."
Anita Sterling was the only player to score in double figures with 10 points for Willowbrook (11-3). But Sterling was limited in the first half after picking up her second foul early in the second quarter. She left the game in the third quarter after she was hit in the nose and couldn't stop the bleeding in time to return.
"It didn't help not to have Anita for about 70 percent of the game," said Harrell, whose team also was without starter Colleen Krawczykowski a fourth straight game with a leg injury. "She's our primary scorer, and we didn't have her today. It's not an excuse. They played a good game. They did. They played a good game, they did what they had to do."
Junior Stefi Bazigos led the Raiders with 9 points, and Brambora and Sydney Bauman added 7 apiece. Ball scored just 6, but her contributions can typically be better measured by other stats, like her 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block Thursday.
"Every day she does the intangibles and the things that don't get the pat on the back," Fonda said. "Yesterday she had 17 points, she had a great game, and today, despite having 6, she still had a great game. You can't take those little things away from her. She's going to crash the board and work her butt off, and that's what I need from her. She's going to be our rock."