Calmly, Smith delivers win for Schaumburg over WW South
Katie Smith had three chances Tuesday night to give Schaumburg a win.
She only needed the first one.
The senior guard was fouled attempting a 3-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer with the girls basketball game against Wheaton Warrenville South tied at 29, sending her to the free-throw line with zeros on the clock and 3 free throws coming.
After a timeout, Smith went to the foul line and calmly sank her first free throw to give the Saxons a 30-29 victory at the Schaumburg Thanksgiving Classic.
Smith said that the positive vibes from her coach, Jacqie Strauch, during the WWS timeout gave her confidence.
"Coach just told me that I was going to make one, there was no doubt about it, and we were going to win the game," said Smith. "That's all I needed to hear."
Schaumburg sophomore Alyssa Orozco had 9 points and played a terrific fourth quarter, while Mia McCoyd scored a game-high 11 points for WWS and made a clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds to tie the game.
Both teams were strong on the defensive end.
"I thought we played really good defense," said Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke. "Unfortunately they (Schaumburg) scored too many points from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. You just don't want to foul and let them back in the game. We've got to learn what to do with the ball late in games when we've got the lead."
WWS led the whole game, but slowly, methodically, Schaumburg crept back into it.
Then with two minutes left in the fourth, Orozco blocked a WWS shot right under the Saxons' basket, got the rebound, was fouled and hit 2 free throws to bring Schaumburg into a 26-26 tie.
Moments later, the sophomore made a steal and sank a driving layup to give the Saxons their first lead at 28-26.
"Alyssa is really stepping up into her role," said Strauch. "She's that girl who can make something happen -- she puts a lot of pressure on herself sometimes, but she's starting to alleviate some of that and just go out and play. She's a playmaker."
Schaumburg lengthened the lead to 29-26 but with 3 seconds remaining McCoyd, closely guarded, sank a long, pressure-packed 3 to tie the game,
Then the Saxons rushed the ball down the floor and Smith was fouled just over half-court as the horn sounded, with her 3-point attempt just rimming out.
"Believe it or not I've already hit a half-court shot in this tournament," said Smith, "so I had that confidence. I just wanted to see if I could draw a foul and got lucky I guess."
And on the bench during the timeout, there didn't seem to be any nerves for the senior as she got ready for her game-winning foul shot.
"Katie is a kid you can trust," said Strauch. "All I told her was 'make it -- finish it' ".
Senior guard Caitlin Shaughnessy scored 5 points for the Tigers and played a great all-around floor game while Lily Huntzinger scored 3 points and McCoyd added a game-high 8 rebounds.
"Our defensive effort was outstanding." said Kroehnke. "We've just got to take care of the ball a little better and slow things down a little bit offensively. Effort-wise, though, I thought it was great."
Talia Torosian scored 8 points for Schaumburg, while teammate Savannah Williams had 7 points as the Saxons got their first win of the year.
"It wasn't beautiful tonight," said Strauch, "but it's nice to get that first win under our belt. A lot of good defense today -- and a lot of missed shots -- but I think we're growing as a team."