Wheaton Warrenville South rallied from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit only to see Wheaton North win Thursday's girls basketball game 57-55 on junior Emari Jones' last-second basket.
It was the Falcons' first victory over their cross-town rivals in four seasons and put them in first place in the DuPage Valley Conference.
"This was a game we've been waiting for all season long because they beat us at their home (in December) and we played good in the first half and in the second half we came out scared," Jones said after the emotional win. "Here, we really talked about defense. We're really good on offense, so just get there on defense. Defense can win us this game."
The Falcons (14-7, 7-1) took a 33-26 lead into halftime, taking advantage of the Tigers' first-half foul trouble.
The lead went to 53-37 when Jones opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from the right corner off a Chrissy Baird assist.
Then WW South (18-3, 5-1), the state's fifth-ranked team in Class 4A, took over, in particular all-everything point guard Meghan Waldron. The DePaul recruit scored 13 of her game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter, tying the game with a pair of free throws with 1:22 remaining.
"What they showed in the fourth quarter is exactly why this is a special team," coach Rob Kroehnke said of his Tigers' comeback. "There's no doubt about it.
"Wheaton North deserves to win that game. They played exactly what they had to do. We can't get ourselves in those positions where we're chasing (16) in the fourth quarter. Give credit to Wheaton North. They did an outstanding job. I give credit to my kids for just never ever quitting."
It remained tied when the Falcons inbounded the ball under their own basket with 4.1 seconds to play. Emmy Gryna lobbed the basketball to the 6-foot-1 Jones in the lane, and Jones, keeping the ball above her head, made the 7-foot shot with 1.4 seconds to go, setting off a celebration among the Falcons and their fans.
"We've gone to that quick, little tip play to (Jones) a couple of times throughout," Wheaton North coach Dave Eaton said. "She's just so long and she had the hot hand."
Jones finished with a personal-best 22 points and 7 rebounds. Kelly Thornton scored 17 points, and Baird added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Falcons.
The teams could meet for a third time this season in the Class 4A Addison Trail sectional.
"We just discussed that," Kroehnke said.
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