Taylor Jacobsen escaped the doghouse with impeccable timing for the West Aurora girls basketball team Thursday night.
The senior, who picked up her fourth personal foul after incurring a third-quarter technical foul, scored 6 of her 8 points in the final two minutes and 28 seconds.
West Aurora was perfect at the free-throw line in the last two minutes as Jacobsen gave the team its first lead since the end of the first quarter with 2:08 to play and iced the Blackhawks’ 48-43 victory over Lake Park in Aurora with two more with 7.1 seconds remaining.
“I knew we could pull it out as long as we hit our free throws,” Jacobsen said. “We’re pretty good at that.”
West Aurora (17-8, 8-5) will play its final DuPage Valley Conference game Saturday afternoon against Glenbard North.
Lake Park dropped to 7-19, 2-11 in the league.
Liz Skaggs powered the Blackhawks’ comeback victory with a team-high 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The West Aurora senior post connected on all 3 of her fourth-quarter field-goal attempts, and Skaggs’ back-to-back field goals from the low block forged ties at 36-36 and 38-38.
“They kept leaving my left-hand open,” Skaggs’ said of the Lancers’ collapsing defense in the paint. “I am a left-hand dominate player. When I was open (on the low block), (my teammates) were open (on the perimeter).”
But the Lancers’ Alexis Pall also had scores on consecutive possessions for Lake Park to give the team its final lead at 40-38.
Jacobsen had a hard drive in the paint to secure a third deadlock in the quarter, and the three-year starter hit the first of 8 straight free throws on the ensuing possession to give West Aurora the lead for good.
Alexis ‘Peanut’ Wiggins’ free throws doubled the Blackhawks’ lead to 44-40, and Skaggs’ last points of the game gave West Aurora its largest lead of the game at 46-40.
Lake Park, which was repeatedly sabotaged by turnovers — 12 after the intermission — halved the deficit behind Emily Duckhorn.
The Lancers’ junior drained her fifth 3-pointer of the contest, but Lake Park had few options with only nine seconds to play.
“I’m kind of tired talking about our youth,” Lake Park coach Brian Rupp said. “They put us in a panic.”
Pall scored at the first-quarter buzzer to give Lake Park a lead it would not surrender until the waning moments.
On two separate occasions — in both halves — Lake Park had a 6-point lead, only to have West Aurora mount minor runs that eventually secured the game.
Duckhorn matched Skaggs’ 17-point total to share game-scoring honors; Maria Zepeda and Pall were also in double figures for Lake Park with 10 points.