The Plainfield North girls basketball team hit a groove offensively Tuesday night to start the fourth quarter of a Class 4A regional quarterfinal on its own court against Waubonsie Valley.
It began the fourth period with three unanswered baskets including a 3-pointer to take a 49-40 advantage. That might have been a knockout punch for some teams. But the Warriors, seeded 14th in the Joliet Central sectional, still had some fight in them.
Waubonsie outscored the 19th-seeded Tigers 13-4 the rest of the way to force overtime. Plainfield North regained its momentum to win 65-56 and advance to Wednesday's semifinal against No. 3 Oswego.
"I'm very proud of how the girls didn't quit. I can't ask for a better effort. They've never quit all season," said Waubonsie coach Dave Owles, whose team finished 6-20.
A Tigers turnover became an Abby Phillips basket to bring the Warriors to within 49-46 when Plainfield North called a timeout with 3:39 left in the fourth to try and cool the momentum. It worked somewhat as the Tigers got back up to a 6-point lead.
Again, Waubonsie refused to go away, finishing the quarter on a 7-1 run, including a basket by Emma Rigby with just seconds left that tied the game at 53 and forced overtime.
Plainfield North could have iced the game in the final quarter with a better mark than its 4-of-12 shooting and made sure that didn't happen in the OT. The Tigers went 9 of 14 from the free-throw line to outscore the Warriors 12-3 in the extra four minutes.
Free throws were a big part of Tuesday's contest overall with Plainfield North finishing 25 of 43 and Waubonsie 12 of 24. Owles said the success the Warriors earned this season came from three basic fundamentals --- good defense, rebounding and limiting turnovers. That didn't happen consistently against the Tigers, and Waubonsie was well into double-digit turnovers.
"We turned the ball over too many times. Too many possessions we came up empty because we turned the ball over," the Waubonsie coach said. "Plainfield North had some huge possessions late and took their shots and we couldn't get the defensive rebounds."
Andrea Colin led the Warriors with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Janiece Thomas had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Kendall O'Sullivan put through 8 points. Plainfield North was led by Maya Dennis with 29 points.
Colin was one of just two seniors on Tuesday night's roster.
"I'm very optimistic for next year. Everyone has injuries and I'm not using injuries as an excuse, but we were decimated, especially with height. We get our height back next year," Owles said.