Impressive finish lifts Conant
Conant's girls basketball team trailed 38-30 heading into the final quarter against Mid-Suburban League West co-leader Palatine on Friday.
Eight minutes later, the Cougars were also a co-leader in the West.
Conant junior Hannah Shulman started the final quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers. Senior Taylor Cyr followed with another at the 3:19 mark to give Conant its first lead (39-38) since early in the second quarter.
Finally, senior Lauren Murphy hit a fourth straight 3-pointer for the hosts to make 42-38 and the Cougars held on for a 42-40 win that produced a three-way tie for first in the West.
Fremd, Palatine and Conant are all tied at 4-2.
In all, the Cougars fired home a season-high nine 3-pointers, including three from senior guard Maddie Fitzpatrick who scored a team-high 11 points.
"It was awesome," said Cyr, who had a pair of 3-pointers for 6 points. "We fed off each other. We had a great game as a team. I'm so proud of my team.
"We hit the floor running and we're going to be ready for the rest of the season. I'm really excited about it. This was such a huge win for us."
The Cougars (7-13) held Palatine (16-6) to one basket, a putback by Sydney Rzepka, which made it 42-40 with 2:27 left.
"We shot really well and that was definitely a recipe for a lot of our success," Cyr added. "But our defense definitely fueled our offense in the fourth quarter. We were just on it -- it was one and done."
Pirates coach Mark Johnson did not fault his defense.
"Our girls defended exactly the way we wanted them to and Conant knocked down the shots," he said. "There's no two ways about it. They (Conant) played with a lot of heart and a lot of credit goes to Conant because they played their tails off in that fourth quarter.
"Unfortunately it was the first time I think all season the other team wanted it more than us down the stretch. I feel we got outplayed there."
Senior Kendra Lindell led the Pirates with a game-high 14 points and four 3-pointers while Rzepka added 10 points and teammate Tiana Henderson 8.
"We just had to score more in the fourth quarter and we've had to close in more on their shooters," Lindell said. "We've got to learn from this and move on to the next one."
That will be Tuesday, when Fremd visits.
"This is something we've got to bounce back from," Johnson said. "We've got a big one with Fremd on Tuesday. That's what makes this division so great. There are great coaches and great players.
"Tuesday is our biggest game of the season. If we're going to win the division, we've got to win Tuesday."
The Cougars (7-13) host New Trier today and are at Schaumburg on Tuesday.
Conant coach Deidre Naughton hopes they keep their same approach.
"Our girls came out with ice in their veins," she said of the start of the fourth quarter. They were down 8 points and fought back. They were confident with their shots and it was really a great team win. I was so proud of how they fought back."
Schulman and Cyr each had two 3-pointers while Murphy and Stephanie Mazurek had one apiece. Ania Baker chipped in 7 points and Abbey DiSalvo had 4.
"It (the 3-pointers) kind of gets contagious with the girls," Naughton said. "One hits a 3 and then everyone kind of starts feeding off each other. And our defensive intensity really motivated us. I was really proud of how we played defense. They (Palatine) were really taking Ania (Baker) away from us and our other girls stepped up."