Hyde's clutch shot lifts Wheaton North over Batavia
Claire Hyde showed no hesitation as she rose on a jump shot beyond the top of the key.
The Wheaton North sophomore guard found the desired location, much to the chagrin of the Batavia girls basketball team.
"That hurt really bad, especially since it was right when we were coming back," Batavia senior leader Erin Golden said.
The Falcons then secured a 49-46 victory in the schools' DuKane Conference game at Batavia on Thursday night with clutch free-throw shooting.
Batavia (7-14, 3-4) had rallied from an 8-point third-quarter deficit to take its first lead since the opening quarter when Morgan Haug converted a long conventional baseline jumper for a 43-41 advantage with one minute, 41 seconds to play.
The Bulldogs' only second-half lead would last all of 29 seconds as Hyde buried her critical 3-pointer from two feet beyond the arc.
"I don't know what got into me," said Hyde, who finished with 10 points on three 3-pointers and a free throw. "I was kind of off the whole game. My coaches are always telling me to keep shooting the ball. That's who I am."
Following the Hyde 3-pointer with 1:12 to play, the Falcons' Julia Simon had a vital steal at half-court.
Turnovers -- none more influential to the outcome than the Simon theft at the timeline -- dogged Batavia the entire game.
"That's something we need to work on and fix," said Golden, who led the Bulldogs with 15 points.
Caroline Gaither, another sophomore guard for Wheaton North, hit 5 of 6 free-throw attempts in fending off Batavia in general and Golden in particular to seal the victory.
Golden had her potential game-tying 30-footer at the buzzer bank off the rim and fall harmlessly to the floor.
Gaither was the conductor of the Falcons' offense in scoring a game-high 19 points.
Wheaton North (13-4, 5-2) scored 18 second-quarter points, largely courtesy of four 3-pointers, to take a 28-24 lead into the break.
"I was getting to the rim and splitting the top two players in the (Bulldogs') 2-3 (zone)," Gaither said. "We have a lot of fighters on our team. We just had to play North side basketball."
Batavia trailed 37-30 after Simon opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a steal and breakaway layup.
"We figured we would rather do it sooner than later," Golden said of the Bulldogs' response.
Tessa Towers' imposing height in the post translated into 12 points for Batavia.
Golden forged the first deadlock since the opening bucket of the second quarter with two free throws with 2:28 remaining.
"It was a big shot, but the game wasn't over yet," Hyde said of her game-altering 3-pointer. "We still had to close it out."