Both the Neuqua Valley and Oak Park-River Forest girls basketball teams put on shows of offense Monday night during the fourth day of the Brenda Whitesell Invitational at Hinsdale South.
The Huskies, though, went home 77-66 winners thanks to their 28-of-37 showing from the free-throw line, including a 19-of-20 mark during the second and third quarters.
"Their intensity was out of this gym and they definitely brought everything they had. They got to the line," said Neuqua's Megan Callahan, who scored a game-high 24 points.
The Huskies (2-1) led 58-44 after the third quarter and the Wildcats managed just 10 points during the third period. However, Neuqua (2-2) scored 22 points in the final period to Oak Park's 19.
Callahan opened the final quarter with her first of three 3-point baskets. That was followed by a putback by Jasmine Walker and a basket by Taylor Crowley. Huskies coach J.P. Coughlin called a timeout to try and cool the momentum.
Coming out of the timeout, Grace Underhill's basket was followed by a Wildcats turnover. A foul put Oak Park's Amaya Coleman on the line. She made a free throw to put the Huskies ahead 62-51.
Coleman finished with 15 points, one of three Oak Park players to finish in double digits, led by Ahsha Spencer's 22 points.
Neuqua whittled down the lead to 62-56 on a shot by Jada Harvey and another 3 by Callahan. Callahan finished with six 3-pointers.
"I have been practicing my 3s a lot. Last year I thought I was decent. Senior year, I want to give all what I have and hitting three (3-pointers in the final quarter) in the clutch needs practice," Callahan said.
Oak Park worked its way back to a double-digit lead with just less than five minutes to play. Neuqua cut that advantage down to 8 twice, but the Huskies stayed in control.
Rachael Tait followed Callahan on the scoresheet with 12 points. She put through a strong performance despite getting her fourth foul with just more than three minutes until halftime.
"After the fourth foul I wanted to fake instead of being aggressive. But you still don't want to back away from being aggressive when it's needed," Tait said. "But the team helps each other when somebody is in foul trouble."
The Huskies led 20-19 after the first quarter and 37-34 at halftime.
Coach Mike Williams was pleased with what he saw against what he considers a very good team.
"We played extremely hard. They are starting to believe in what we're trying to do. At this point I'm not concerned about win-loss, I'm interested about where we will finish," he said.