Tuesday night's game is the type of game good teams need to find a way to win.
That's exactly what the Westminster Christian girls basketball team did against Larkin.
The Warriors needed to hit 7 free throws in the final 33 seconds to earn a 54-51 victory over the host Royals in an Elgin City Classic matchup.
"Not all your games are pretty," Westminster coach Ken Flickinger said. "(The Royals) just wouldn't go away."
Westminster (15-2) led by 5, 39-34, heading into the fourth quarter, but could never increase the lead. Larkin (6-11) took the lead, 48-47, with 40.9 seconds remaining as Alyssa McGhee hit a pair of free throws.
McKaila Hays made 1 of 2 free throws with 33 seconds left to tie the game at 48-48. Claire Speweik and Hays each hit a pair of free throws over the next 15 seconds as the Warriors took a 52-51 lead. Larkin's Marlee Kyles hit a 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining to make it a 1-point game, 54-53. Liz Meschewski nailed 2 free throws with 6.5 seconds to give the Warriors a 54-51 lead.
After a jump ball went to Larkin with .5 seconds remaining, the Royals' last chance was way short.
"We made some turnovers at crucial times," Larkin coach Ruben Flores said. "We hit a dry spell with the shooting (late in the fourth)."
The Warriors led by as many as 7 in the first half thanks in large part to Maddie Verlsuys, who scored 15 of the team's 28 first-half points. Verlsuys finished with a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds.
"We fought to the end. Even though we made mistakes, we didn't give up," Verlsuys said. "Our free throws were huge at the end."
Westminster shot 42 percent (20-for-48) and committed 28 turnovers. Hays finished with 12 points. Kinsley Donahue added 8 points. Speweik had 7 points and 13 rebounds.
The Royals, whose largest lead was just 2, shot just 38 percent (21-for-55) and had 24 turnovers, 15 of which were in the first half. Victoria Patterson had 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals. Kyles added 14 points.
Westminster can wrap up its second straight City Classic title with wins over Elgin on Friday and Harvest Christian Monday.
Elgin 49, Harvest Christian 36: Melanie Berg scored 23 points to lead the Maroons (6-11) to a win in the Elgin City Classic. Maggie Powers added 9 points for Elgin. Kylee Knox led Harvest Christian (7-7) with 17 points.
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