Cary-Grove's girls basketball team was one made shot from winning its first sectional championship in 23 years.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, Megan Leisten's 3 pointer at the buzzer was long and DeKalb held on for a 31-29 over the Trojans in the championship game of the Class 4A McHenry sectional Thursday night.
"I thought maybe we could have got a closer shot, but Megan's shot was a good one," said Cary-Grove coach Rod Saffert, whose team lost its second straight sectional final by 2 points.
"We always tell the kids to take the open shot. You look at our shot chart and we got good shots the whole game. We just couldn't make enough shots. We played well enough at the defensive end. I am very proud of these girls. Not much was expected of them, but they achieved a lot this season."
DeKalb (28-4) will play Bartlett (30-1) in the Elgin supersectional Monday at 8 p.m. Bartlett defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 54-51 in overtime in the Hoffman Estates sectional final.
In a low-scoring game, DeKalb seemed to be in good shape when Taylor White canned a 3-pointer with 3:38 left in the game to give the Barbs a 30-24 lead. But the Trojans ran off 4 straight points on a pair of free throws by Olivia Jakubicek and a layup from Alyssa Lee to cut the lead to 30-28 with 1:39 left.
DeKalb, which missed the front end of three 1-and-1 free throw attempts in the last 27 seconds, scored its final point of the game on a free throw by White with 39 seconds
left to make the score 31-28. Paige Lincicum converted 1-of-2 free throws to pull Cary-Grove to within 31-29 with 14 seconds left, which set up Leisten's last-second 3-point attempt.
"When we got the 6-point lead it felt like we had a 40-point lead," said DeKalb coach Ben Bates. "We knew it would be a dogfight until the end because both teams play such great defense. We knew it would be a game in the 20s or 30s. I was holding my breath on that last shot. I was glad to see it sail right and we could celebrate being sectional champs."
Cary-Grove (21-9), which made only 11-of-38 shots for 29 percent and committed 20 turnovers, was led by Lincicum with 9 points. Jakubicek (13 rebounds) and Lee (3 assists) scored 8 apiece for the Trojans.
White, who was 2-of-5 from 3-point range, led the Barbs with 9 points. Rachel Torres scored 8 while Maddy Johnson tallied 7 with 8 rebounds.
Cary-Grove High School
Conference: Fox Valley Valley
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