Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas has stressed all year the need for her Mustangs to keep their cool when the game is not going their way.
That training came in handy in host Metea's 51-43 victory over Oswego on Tuesday in a Class 4A regional semifinal in Aurora.
After a so-so first half by the seventh-seeded Mustangs (22-6) saw them trail the 10th-seeded Panthers (13-13) 25-21, Metea Valley found its groove in the third quarter, outscoring its opponent 15-6 and 30-18 over the final two quarters.
"We've talked all season a lot about composure and controlling the tempo of the game. In the first half we were not getting our looks at the basket and not getting the ball to Lori (Obendorf). We settled down after halftime and played more of our game," Kalivas said.
The Mustangs shot 7 of 11 from the field in the crucial third quarter after a cool 3 of 15 in the second.
Once business was complete for the night, Metea talked enthusiastically about getting another shot at Neuqua Valley, the second-seeded team of the Oswego sectional. The Wildcats dispatched Lockport 72-16 in the first semifinal at Metea on Tuesday. The regional final is 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Neuqua won both contests this season and beat Metea in a regional final last season.
"We're tired of losing to them and we want to beat them," Obendorf said.
The senior was one of three Metea players scoring in double digits as she hit for 14. Junior Jenny Voytell led with 16 and sophomore Nia Flowers also had 14.
Obendorf was also huge on the boards with a game-high 15 rebounds.
"When we were in the locker room at halftime, none of us were happy with the way we played. Nobody wants the season to end at this point. We decided that we didn't want to go home and wanted it more," Obendorf said.
Voytell, after going scoreless in the first quarter, scored six points and Metea's only field goals of the second quarter, and then hit for 10 points in the second half, the most of any Mustang.
"She's been very successful getting the ball to the hole of late. She's been in our starting lineup all year," Kalivas said.
Oswego was led by Siarra O'Neill's game-high 17 points. She was 3 of 3 from 3-point range in the first quarter, which helped the Panthers lead 17-13 at the end of it.