Willowbrook beats Proviso East again
Willowbrook sophomore guard Grace Tumilty suffered through a few bouts of fatigue late in Thursday's emotional home girls basketball game against Proviso East.
But just like her teammates, Tumilty didn't back down from the tough challenge of playing the aggressive and athletic Pirates. Tumilty finished with 21 points and collected 9 rebounds to lift the Warriors to a 67-59 comeback win in West Suburban Gold action.
It was the second time this season Willowbrook defeated Proviso East.
Junior guard K'aliyha Herron added 13 points and 6 rebounds and Maura Heneghan contributed 11 points for the Warriors (16-7, 7-2).
In her first year on the varsity, Tumilty played like a seasoned veteran. She repeatedly attacked the Pirates' pressure, hit numerous key jumpers and helped the Warriors absorb a key injury to leading scorer Katelyn McCann.
And she didn't back down from attacking Proviso East's Keimari Rimmer. The DePaul recruit wowed the crowd with her driving ability, step-back 3s and fluid game. She finished with a game-high 36 points to go with 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. But Rimmer shot just 1 for 8 from the field in the fourth quarter.
"When Katelyn got injured in the second quarter, I knew someone else was going to step up and help because she's the one who scores all of our points," Tumilty said. "K'aliyha stepped up, I stepped up and so did the team for her. We had to shut down (Rimmer). We played good defense late on her."
Led by Rimmer, the Pirates (14-5, 6-2) raced out to leads of 22-14, 25-16 and 31-23 in the second quarter before the Warriors woke up following an apparent serious left knee injury to McCann, who left the game in a wheelchair.
"It's hard because (Katelyn) is a senior, leads us in scoring and is one of our leaders in steals," Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell said. "She was having a great year. The team is really tight, and they came to play and stepped up big time after her injury. I'm proud of the way they played after they lost their senior leader."
The Warriors slowly chipped away at the double-digit deficit by putting the ball in Tumilty's hands and letting her lead the offense. The 5-foot-5 Tumilty sparked the third-quarter comeback by burying three straight jumpers to give the Warriors a 48-46 lead. Herron opened the fourth with a 3 to give the Warriors a 53-51 lead, and Annemarie Knudtson drilled a 3 to pad the advantage to 61-56 with just over three minutes left.
Herron's aggressive play on defense and offense was a key factor in the comeback.
"I felt we had to work hard to get a win and do it for our teammate who got hurt," Herron said. "I was nervous coming into the game, but I had to pull through for my team."