It was another special night during a special season for Maine West's girls basketball team.
The Warriors won their 25th regional title in school history and there was no doubt who they won this one for -- the man who'd won 23 of them.
"We did it for Derril Kipp" the signs read after the No. 3-seeded Warriors defeated No. 5 New Trier 46-38 in the Warriors' own Class 4A regional championship on Thursday in Des Plaines.
West (25-3) advances to Monday's 7:30 p.m. semifinal of the Niles West sectional to meet the winner of today's Glenbrook North regional final between No. 2 Glenbook South and No. 7 Maine South.
"It was an emotional summer after losing Kipp," said West junior Alissa Fallon, referring to the passing of Maine West Hall of Fame coach. "We realize every day could be your last. So we wanted to play like every game could be our last."
Fallon, who scored 12 points with 8 rebounds, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 12-5 lead.
Rachel Kent (game-high 16 points, 6 rebounds) hit a driving layup that made it 14-5 and West never trailed against a New Trier team (18-11) which defeated the Warriros 45-44 on the same floor in December.
"It was amazing, especially because we did it for Kipp and that we lost to New Trier last time," Kent said. "We were definitely more aggressive this time. We weren't scared and weren't going to have any regrets. We just tried to take it right at them."
Junior guard Cate Murdock (14 points) took top scoring honors for New Trier, which pulled to within 32-29 early in the fourth quarter.
That's when Murdock scored on a big drive to the basket with 7:423 left in the game.
"It was a nail-biter," said Maine West coach Kim de Marigny. "I'm glad I didn't have any nails to bite. We came out slow on Tuesday night (in a semifinal win over Maine East) and we knew we did not want that to happen this game.
"I thought we came with more enthusiasm and aggression tonight. We left them (New Trier) open in the corners a couple of times and they don't miss."
But after Murdock's layup, Kent took over.
The sophomore guard hit 3 of 4 free throws and a 16-footer. Her personal 5-0 run gave West a 37-29 lead and New Trier never got closer than 5 points.
"We didn't shoot as well as were normally do and we were a little too tentative in the first half," said New Trier coach Teri Rodgers. "We got down but our kids contunued to play hard to come back.
"Congratulations to Maine West. I'm happy for them with what they went through this summer. And I am really happy with the effort our kids put in."
Maine West's effort included scoring from six different players, including freshman Angela Dugalic (8 points, 6 rebounds).
Dugalic's rebound layup gave West the lead for good at 4-3 and she made it 6-3 with a right-handed hook.
West junior Allison Pearson chipped in 7 points, inclduing a big 3-pointer in the third quarter that put the Warriors ahead 29-18.
"Everyone loved to be able to beat New Trier," Pearson said. "So beating them on our home floor and cutting down the nets was perfect. We know how good we are now. We had been beating a lot of teams who have not been as much of a challenge for us, but winning this way proves to all of us how good we are and what we can do in this postseason."
A postseason for West with Kipp on everyone's minds.
"The girls were very determined to not be denied," said de Marigny, an assistant to Kipp the previous seven years. "It's very bittersweet that he is not here."
"She's (deMarigny) phenomenal," said Mary Dankowski, a mainstay in the program and member of the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Asscociation Hall of Fame as a Friend of Basketball. "Kim is everything Derril said she would be."