No one could accuse Bartlett’s girls basketball team of not staying aggressive Wednesday night.
Despite building a 36-30 lead after 3 quarters, the 8th-seeded Hawks (17-11) remained in attack mode down the stretch during their 60-38 Class 4A regional semifinal victory over No. 9 seed St. Charles North (14-13) at Glenbard East.
Bartlett blew open a tight game by outscoring St. Charles North 20-4 over the final 6 minutes.
“When you get a lead like that, how many times do you see a team hold on to the ball and the momentum completely switches?” asked Hawks coach Denise Sarna. “I told the girls if we have an opportunity to score, let’s take it.”
With senior center Liz Arco (12 points, 6 rebounds) on the bench in foul trouble, 6-1 sophomore forward Kelly Harris stepped up and provided some clutch plays at both ends of the court for the Hawks.
Harris, who scored 7 of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, recorded back-to-back blocked shots during a sequence early in the final period and then converted a key 3-point play off a feed from Arco with 3:25 remaining to extend the Hawks’ lead to 46-36.
“Kelly stepped up,” Sarna said of Harris, who added 3 blocked shots and a pair of steals. “We ride her hard. She’s a sophomore and we have high expectations of her. She had a couple games where we got on her case a little bit but she answered the call today. She was ready to play and was big for us.”
“We had a lot of energy tonight,” said Harris. “Everyone contributed. The bench was up, the people in the crowd were up — it pumped us so much.
“We love playing together,” added Harris. “We’re like a family together and it just makes it so much better.”
Bartlett jumped out to a 21-11 first-quarter lead before going ice-cold in the second quarter.
The Hawks connected on just 1 of 11 field-goal attempts while being outscored 11-3 in the second stanza and carried a slim 24-22 lead at halftime.
“There were times where both teams might have showed some frustration but we didn’t dwell on it,” said Sarna. “I thought we showed composure and I thought we showed a lot of heart. It was a rough game.”
Kaitlin Brohan and Ally Giampapa chipped in with 11 and 9 points, respectively, for the Hawks, who will face top-seeded Wheaton Warrenville South in Friday’s regional finals.
“Wheaton Warrenville South is a great team,” said Sarna. “They’ve got some great players — a lot of the same players that we played two years ago when we went downstate (Bartlett won 54-51 in the 2012 sectional finals). We’re going to come out and give it our best effort.”
Effort was something that wasn’t lacking throughout the season for first-year head coach Sean Masoncup’s North Stars.
Junior Nichole Davidson poured in a game-high 23 points for the North Stars, who committed 27 turnovers and made just 1 of 9 three-point attempts.
“We didn’t do a good job of getting the ball inside,” said Masoncup. “We weren’t crisp with our passes tonight.”
Sophomore Morgan Rosencrants added 6 points for the North Stars, who figure to return all 5 starters next season.
“There were a lot of tears (in the locker room),” said Masoncup. “I think that our girls have bought in. I told the seniors that when we win a regional next year, I want them in that locker room with us.”
“It’s not the best feeling but we played as hard as we could this season and we really improved a lot,” said Davidson, who tallied 15 first-half points. “We just have to come back year even better.”