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Liza Fruendt woke up Thursday morning with a message on her phone from her friend Erin Bayram, showing her a photo of the last Batavia girls basketball team to win a regional championship in 1990.
Fruendt and Bayram ended their day with a whole batch of new photos to share of themselves and their teammates posing with the school's first regional plaque in 24 years.
Fruendt scored 24 points and sophomore Hannah Frazier delivered 22 in Batavia's convincing 63-42 victory over Willowbrook Thursday night to win the Class 4A Batavia regional title.
Four of the players from that 1990 Batavia team attended Thursday night's game. They saw this year's squad go on 22-5 second-half run to turn a 5-point halftime lead into a comfortable margin for the final 10 minutes.
"We're far from satisfied, we have so many steps ahead, but this is the first really big check, and I can't even describe it," Fruendt said. "We were all fired up. We knew what was on the line."
Third-seed Batavia (20-9) will play the winner of Friday night's regional final between No. 2 seed Downers Grove North and No. 10 York in the Class 4A Addison Trail sectional semifinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
"I told the girls it's a big milestone," Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. "We're building to a place where we hope we're in contention year in and year out but it's not necessarily where we've been. It's a big deal."
Fruendt and Frazier combined to outscore Willowbrook. Frazier made 11 of 15 shots from the field and also grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked 2 shots while Fruendt made 10 of 20 shots and had 5 assists.
"She (Frazier) went to work," Fruendt said. "That's what I've been telling her all year, you've got to do that every single game. She went into beast mode. She didn't back down to anyone and I'm really proud of her and my whole team."
Sixth-seed Willowbrook (23-5), which was vying for its first regional title since 1996, outscored Batavia 17-3 at the free-throw line. But the Bulldogs more than made up for it by sinking 28 of their 53 field goal attempts (52.8 percent) to just 12 of 55 (21.8 percent) by the Warriors.
Willowbrook opened the game with turnovers on its first three possessions before Olivia Domin found Josie Zabran for the game's first bucket and the start of a big first half for the sophomore post player.
Zabran, who scored a career-high 21 points Tuesday in a win over St. Charles East, followed her own miss to score while being fouled by Bayram for a 9-2 lead. The Boston University-bound Bayram wound up sitting much of the first half with 3 fouls.
Batavia erased the 7-point deficit by the end of the quarter. Frazier assisted Stephanie Rodriguez for a basket, and Fruendt followed with a 3 to tie the game at 13.
Frazier opened the second quarter with a third-chance putback and Batavia's first lead at 15-13, which grew to 27-22 at halftime.
Zabran was the only offense for the Warriors, scoring their final 11 points of the first half. She had 16 points at the break before Batavia held her to 4 in the second half.
"She's a great player and the whole week we worked on post defense and our plan was to front her and not let her get the ball," Frazier said. "I think we could have done a better job in the first half but we pulled together in the second half."
Leading 31-27 after Lauren Carroll's 3-point play for Willowbrook, Fruendt hit a 3 that started an 18-5 run to end the third quarter with Batavia up 49-32.
Mackenzie Foster found Frazier on back-to-back baskets late in the run. After Fruendt made another 3 that hit the rim four times before softly dropping in, Shea Bayram blocked a shot, grabbed the rebound and out-letted to Fruendt, who passed to Foster flying in for a fastbreak layup.
"It was so exciting, it was really fun to play in a game like this," Fraizer said. "We did a great job of reversing the ball and when we moved it around a lot I got a lot of inside looks."
Batavia scored the first 4 points of the fourth quarter and led by at least 18 points the rest of the night.
Molly Krawczykowski added 10 points for the Warriors.
"They did a good job getting the ball inside in the second half which hurt us," said Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell.
"We'll be back next year. Hopefully we'll get over the hump in this game."
Batavia will head into sectionals next week playing with house money, hoping to add a couple more memorable moments to a season filled with them.
"We talk about conference, talk about regional, talk about 20 wins," Jensen said. "We got those. It's icing on the cake. Watching those teams we could play (at sectional), I think we can match up with anybody that's going to be in that sectional."