Bartlett takes 'crazy' game from Lake Park
Bartlett junior guard Lexie Sinclair was trying to explain Saturday afternoon's wild girls basketball game against Lake Park.
"We love to have that slow start. We eventually figure it out. I think we just need to come out with energy and," she said, pausing to consider what had just happened. "Oh, I don't even know. That was pretty crazy."
What we do know is Bartlett took a 66-63 victory at the 30th annual Coach Kipp's Hoopsfest at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, but that doesn't begin to describe it.
To earn the win Bartlett had to overcome a 17-point first-quarter deficit. Then the Hawks watched an 11-point fourth-quarter lead shrink to nothing with just less than a minute to play.
"That was pretty crazy," added Bartlett sophomore guard Mackenzie Hare. "It definitely came down to the wire, which is always fun. We love being in that atmosphere. It was great."
The way Lake Park started the game was pretty great, too. The Lancers got balanced scoring, everything seeming to work as planned.
Meanwhile, the Hawks couldn't get a shot to drop.
"Her and I know that it will fall eventually. For both of our shots. Just gotta keep feeding her. She'll make them eventually," Sinclair said of Hare.
Hare and Sinclair each finished with 27 points. Hare just missed a double-double, grabbing 9 rebounds.
Lake Park jumped out to a 22-5 lead on a Darrione Rogers 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the first quarter, but the Hawks cut into the margin when Hare scored the final 6 points of the second quarter, leaving Lake Park with a 32-25 halftime lead.
Lake Park held tough for most of the third quarter, but things fell apart in the final minutes.
A Sara Balli basket put the Lancers ahead 45-39. The Hawks then scored the final 15 points in the last 2:28 of the period, leading 54-45 after three quarters.
"Their third quarter was unbelievable," Lake Park coach Brian Rupp said. "...We were a second late on everything, it felt."
The Lancers looked tired, like a team that had won an emotional and equally thrilling DuKane Conference game in overtime at Geneva less than 24 hours before.
"Yeah, but that's not an excuse," said Rogers, a DePaul recruit. "Good teams find a way to push through that. Tonight we just didn't come out and defend well or execute, and that's why we lost the game."
The Bartlett lead reached 60-49 after a Hare 3-pointer, one of four she made.
Then it was Lake Park's turn to dig deep and rally. The Lancers went on a 10-1 run to pull within 2 points on a Rogers basket with 2:25 left. They tied the game at 63 with 58.3 seconds to go when Rogers made three free throws.
"Defense," said Rogers, who also contributed 31 points of offense, as well as 9 rebounds and 4 steals. "We started stepping up. We could have definitely done a better job of defending, but it was the defense that turned it around for us."
Sinclair broke the tie by dropping a pair of free throws, and Trinity Reyes added one more with 1.4 seconds left.
"That was a heck of a game," said Bartlett coach Joe Eirich. "I mean, to go up against a talent like Darrione, I mean I hugged her after the game and just told her how awesome she is, how great of a player she is and I can't wait to watch her in the future."