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The streak ended the way Brittney Thibeaux hoped it would.
"That's how I got into my rhythm," the Grayslake North forward said of her crucial, early-fourth-quarter steal, which saw her dribble three-quarters of the court before sinking a running layup, drawing a foul and completing a three-point play.
The streak ended the way Grayslake Central hoped it would not — with a loss to its crosstown rival.
Thibeaux scored 7 of her 13 points in the final quarter, Kendall Detweiler also tallied 13 points, including a clutch 3-pointer down the stretch, and Grayslake North defeated visiting Grayslake Central 46-36 Wednesday night, snapping the Rams' 29-game Fox Valley Conference Fox Division winning streak.
Grayslake North improved to 15-1 and 5-0 in the FVC Fox, while Grayslake Central fell to 11-8 and 4-1.
"All good things come to an end, but North is a really good team," said Grayslake Central center Morgan Dahlstrom, who had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals. "We take every game game-by-game, so none of us were really thinking about the streak too much."
Another streak ended, too. Grayslake Central had defeated Grayslake North 10 straight times. The last time the Knights had beaten the Rams was nearly five years ago (Jan. 15, 2008).
"I credit our kids," Grayslake North coach Nate Flannery said after his girls rallied from a 31-28 deficit after three quarters. "We changed defenses a ton during the game. We put in new wrinkles offensively just in the last two days, and (the players) adapted and ran them."
Grayslake Central coach Steve Ikenn called it a game of "a lot of ebbs and flows," and he couldn't have been more accurate. Grayslake North closed the opening half with an 8-0 run, which Detweiler punctuated with a running 10-footer in the closing seconds to out her team up 24-19. Grayslake Central got 5 free throws from Maddy Miller during a 10-0 run in the third quarter that put the Rams in front 31-26.
"We got a little bit out of sync and had a lot of people in foul trouble," Flannery said. "But we just have kids that have that refuse-to-lose mindset. They didn't get down. They just kept competing."
Sure enough, after getting outscored 12-4 in the third, the Knights owned the fourth. They trailed 31-30 when Thibeaux, defending near the foul line, intercepted an inbounds pass. Showing off guard skills, the 6-footer streaked the other way, scored, was fouled and sank her foul shot with 7:04 left.
"That was a momentum boost," Flannery said. "We have her in the post because she's going to be effective down there, but in practice we see stuff like that out of her all the time. She's a very athletic player."
Thibeaux acknowledged her steal and three-point play was fun.
"I know I'm not going to be a post in college, so I'm trying to work on my guard game," said the junior, who shot just 2 of 11 from the floor through three quarters before sinking all 3 of her shots in the fourth.
Thibeaux then scored in the post and later hit a tough shot over the athletic Dahlstrom with 2:25 to go, extending the Knights' lead to 41-36. A pair of free throws by Shyanne Ludwick, one by Jordyn Bowen and a layup by Joanna Guhl (12 points, 7 rebounds), off a feed from Thibeaux, capped an 18-5 quarter by the host team.
Dahlstrom made 7 of 10 shots through three quarters, but the junior was limited to 1 field-goal try in the fourth, as the Knights packed it in.
"She's an outstanding player," Flannery said. "Usually, she's great around the basket. But she was making 10- and 15-footers, too. That's tough to stop."
"I thought North's defense was really good," Dahlstrom said. "We started to fall apart, but I give all credit to North's defense."
Savannah Mudd added 9 points for Grayslake Central.
"I thought we played a good game," Ikenn said. "It was a four- or five-point game most of the way. They're a good team. They're a well-coached team. They've got some talent. They made some big shots at the end, and we had a few shots that rimmed out at the end."