Glenbard East squeezes out win against Addison Trail
Jillian O'Brien was under the gun Monday night in Bartlett.
The Glenbard East junior had not only yet to score in the Class 4A girls basketball regional quarterfinal but also missed the front end of the bonus moments earlier.
But O'Brien answered the call when needed. She drained both ends of the bonus from the free-throw line with 6.1 seconds remaining.
The Rams doubled their lead over Addison Trail in the process and hung on for a 43-41 victory.
With the Rams' upset victory the No. 19-seed of the Batavia sectional complex advanced to face the host Hawks, seeded third, Wednesday night in Bartlett.
Thirteenth-seeded Addison Trail had its season come to a close at 9-16.
Glenbard East (8-23) lost in one-sided fashion in both of its Upstate Eight Conference regular-season games against the undefeated league-champion Hawks (26-4).
"I was feeling a lot of weight on my shoulders," O'Brien said of the clutch free throws. "I was just thinking that if we wanted to win the game that I had to do it."
The Blazers' Quiana Birmingham, who led both teams with 14 points, converted two free throws with 1.4 seconds to play.
But Addison Trail suffered a mental breakdown to enable the Rams to run out the clock.
"We had our shortest girl on the inbounds play," Addison Trail coach Rob Schader said.
Facing a 9-point deficit entering the final quarter, Addison Trail had multiple opportunities in the last four-plus minutes of the game.
Birmingham and Mia Johnson both made the contest a one-possession game in the last two minutes with field goals for Addison Trail.
Glenbard East withstood the challenge, however, after the Blazers failed to convert some high-percentage shots down the stretch.
"We missed some point-blank shots," Schader said of the doomed fourth-quarter comeback bid. "We didn't play very well."
The Blazers had twin double-digit leads in the second quarter, but Glenbard East ended the opening half with a 13-2 run to take a 19-18 at the break.
Glenbard East then took command in the third with 18 points in the quarter.
Lauren Huber, who paced the Rams with 13 points, scored off her own miss to end the third for a 37-28 lead.
Glenbard East center Emily Ryan complemented Huber with 11 points.
"We were trying to utilize the post as well as we could and use the outside shot to get as many girls involved as possible," Huber said.