Lisle wears down Westmont in regional final
What a week it has been for the Lisle girls basketball team.
Just two days after reaching a special milestone with their 20th victory, the Lions added a Class 2A regional championship to the resume with a 60-36 win over Westmont on Friday.
Playing on its home court, Lisle (21-10) advances to take on Chicago Christian at next week's sectional, which the Lions will also host.
"This week has been awesome," said senior and four-year varsity player McKenzie Weaver, who finished with 18 points and 5 steals. "As seniors, we wanted to finish strong, we didn't want our season to end.
"It's so exciting and it is also great that the sectional will be on our home court in front of our crowd. We are hoping to go further than the last time we made it (Lisle lost in the sectional semifinal in 2017)."
The visiting Sentinels made it tough on their longtime rival, jumping out to a 5-point lead in the second quarter before eventually trailing 24-22 at halftime.
Sophomore Megan Thompson put together another outstanding performance for Westmont, scoring 9 points in the first 16 minutes and 21 for the game to go along with 10 rebounds. Fellow sophomore Aleksa Sekularac chipped in with 6 points.
But with a small roster that was missing its only two seniors, the Sentinels eventually wore down. Lisle capitalized with a 13-0 third-quarter run that proved to be the difference.
"The girls played great," said Westmont coach John Natanek, whose team finished with a record of 5-20. "The final score is not indicative of the game at all. We played our hearts out.
"Megan is a great player and she has had some monster games for us. She plays so hard."
Lisle's Abby Casmer came up big during the third-quarter spurt, scoring 9 of her 16 points. She also totaled 11 rebounds and 6 steals. As a team, Lisle forced Westmont into 24 turnovers.
"We all work better when we work together," Casmer said. "It was so fun, we were all up and excited. Upstairs at halftime, Coach (Nick) Balaban is great with his motivational speeches. And we were just talking that this was our chance, our time to shine. And then we went out and all worked together."
Indeed, all 13 players that dressed for Lisle saw action with 11 grabbing at least 1 rebound. Emma Rossin knocked down a trio of 3-pointers for her 9 points, and Emma Webb scored 7.
"I'm just happy for all our players," said Balaban, whose team lost in the regional final a year ago. "They all got to be on the floor in the championship game. It's great for our kids and I'm happy that our seniors got to win a regional.
"Westmont played a great first half. And through three quarters, it was a game. We were hoping our depth and our pressure would wear them down. It was a hard-fought game. And now we have an opportunity on Tuesday to take the next step."