Waubonsie Valley hits 11 3-pointers in win over Metea Valley
Amari Banks was feeling it on Friday night.
The Waubonsie Valley senior knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 17 points to lead the Warriors past visiting Metea Valley, 57-54, in a DuPage Valley Conference game.
"After making my first two or something we recognized as a team I was shooting good and Lauren (McKnight) was shooting good," Banks said. "As play went on, we made sure we were getting open, or we found someone open on the court to get our shots in."
Despite making 11 three-pointers as a team, it took some clutch free throw shooting in the final minute from Lauren Threat and McKnight for the Warriors to pull out the victory in a game where no fans were allowed in the gym.
After a drive from Metea Valley senior Katy Flanders tied the game at 54-54 with 2:17 left to play, it remained deadlocked until Threat made both ends of a 1-and-1. She had missed 2 free throws earlier in the evening, and they remained on her mind when she toed the line with 27.9 seconds left.
"I was like 'dang,'" she said, "I felt like I really needed to focus the next time I got to the line because coach is always wanting me to go up and get that foul on my shot. I missed my opportunity, but I got another chance at the end with the game on the line, and being able to make those felt pretty good."
McKnight split a pair of free throws with 9.8 seconds left, which gave the Mustangs an opportunity to tie the game. They were able to get a decent look for Flanders, but her shot hit the back of the iron as time expired.
"They made some shots and we made some, so it was a back-and-forth game," Threat said. "We really needed to play all the way until the end and not let our guard down. They made some shots to come back, but we held on and got the win."
Metea Valley trailed 46-38 at one point in the third quarter, but went on a 16-8 run to tie the game at 54-54.
"We were strong on offense, but probably should have went into the post more," Mustangs sophomore Raina Penttila said. "Defensively, we probably could have done a better job on 3s, because they didn't pass to the post much and they kept knocking down 3s. So, we need to help more or stay on them."
McKnight had 12 points, and Hannah Laub and Grace Abrams each had 10 points as the three players combined for six 3-pointers. Amelia Szczesny grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds while McKnight had seven.
"A lot of our players improved their shots over the summer in practice," Banks said. "We're better shooters compared to last year, and we took advantage of it making sure we got our shooters open."
Penttila led the Mustangs with 12 points, Nyla Hart added 10 and Jada Samuels chipped in with nine.