Lori Obendorf can't play with injured Metea Valley teammate Anna Petersen anymore, but Petersen's embrace was the first place Obendorf went to celebrate a win Friday.
"We're kind of best friends. We hug a lot," Obendorf said. "I really miss having her on the court."
Obendorf and the Mustangs are down two starters now, but they proved Friday they're not out.
Trailing by 9 midway through the third quarter at Hinsdale Central, No. 9 Metea Valley rallied for a 51-50 win, reaching the 20-win benchmark for the first time in the young program's history.
Obendorf scored 9 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter, also grabbed 13 rebounds, and Nia Flowers had 7 of her 14 points in the fourth for Metea Valley (20-5), which won its second game since losing Bria Walker to a torn ACL.
"We talked about this being the first real challenge since Bria went down, and the girls rose to the occasion," Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas said. "It wasn't a perfect game, but I was proud of how they finished."
The 20th win wasn't lost on Obendorf.
"I don't know if anybody else realizes it because I'm kind of the numbers person on the team," Obendorf said. "We didn't really talk about it, but I wanted it. It means a lot to this program."
Metea started strong, leading 16-9 after a quarter. Gabrielle Rush's deep 3-pointer fueled a 12-0 Hinsdale Central run to surge ahead 28-22 at halftime, and the Red Devils' lead widened to 37-28 with 3:04 left in the third quarter on Lily Sarros' stickback basket. Metea answered with an 8-2 run to start the final period, a Flowers' runner pushing the Mustangs ahead 41-40.
Five lead changes ensued until Obendorf gave her team the lead for good, scoring inside on a feed from a driving Jenny Voytell to go ahead 48-47 with 3:56 left.
"We were able to get the stops we needed," Kalivas said, "and the scores we needed."
Voytell added 12 points for Metea.
In a physical game against a tough post in Sarros, Obendorf played all 32 minutes.
Kalivas appreciates the toughness of her 6-foot-2 senior.
"She has a lot of heart," Kalivas said. "It was physical, and the refs let us play, which was fine. She's probably walking away disappointed in how she played. If she's disappointed with 21 and 13, I'll take it. She's taking on the challenge."
Rush scored 16 points, Maddie Roglich 14 and Sarros 8 points and 14 rebounds for Hinsdale Central (16-8).
Roglich's banked 3 with 5:17 left gave the Red Devils a 47-43, but it was their last points until Rush's too-little, too-late 3 in the closing seconds. Hinsdale Central missed several makable shots near the basket, and Rush -- averaging close to 24 points a game -- scored just 2 in the second half until her final 3.
"We missed a lot of shots and we lost our composure," Hinsdale Central coach Tom McKenna said. "We didn't play well at all down the stretch."
McKenna noted a similar finish in Tuesday's 50-46 home loss to Proviso West Tuesday, which clinched the West Suburban Silver for Proviso West.
"I don't know what to tell you," McKenna said. "It shouldn't happen, what happened tonight."
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