Maine West claims another CSL North crown
In this abbreviated 2021 girls basketball season, the Central Suburban League ran a Friday-Saturday home-and-away schedule for its respective 10 game divisional slate in each of i's divisions.
"It's definitely different," Maine West sophomore forward Jaclyn Riedl said. "I feel like we play well one game and it keeps going and it continues into the next game. You get fired up through the weekend."
Which brought us to the first of the back-to-back battles between the two schools in the CSL North that each have the same Warriors mascot -- Deerfield and Maine West. Their first matchup in Des Plaines Friday gave Riedl and her teammates a chance to wrap up an undisputed North title.
However pugilistic Deerfield had other ideas as they sought to stay alive with a chance to earn a share of the division if it could come out of Rider Gym with a win that would set up a Saturday afternoon battle at Deerfield to grab that share as part of a weekend sweep.
Through the first couple of minutes of the third period when they were ahead of West 36-17, the forecast looked quite bright for the visitors.
Then the home team got their proverbial pilot light aflame and remained on a steady burn that steered them past Deerfield 51-48 to clinch their sixth straight divisional title.
"We wanted this game," Riedl, whose game-high 23 points led the way for West, said. "It was unbelievable. This championship means so much to us. We've got this fire inside of us to just go and work together well. To turn up our defense. That helped us out a lot."
The Maine West (12-2, 9-0) comeback was aided in large part by the 5-foot-10 Riedl, who tallied 7 points during the 16-2 surge that pulled it within 38-33 with 83 ticks left in the third.
Then with her squad trailing 45-39 with 5:02 to play, she took over the contest by having direct input on the next 8 West points that gave it its first lead since the opening period at 47-45 with 2:23 left when she completed a three-point play after feeding senior guard Jane Rothweiler on a layup and hitting a 3-pointer previously.
But Deerfield (8-6, 6-3) wouldn't go away quietly. A Morgan Kerndt (10 points) bucket followed by a Mackenzie Reitmoyer free throw put it back up 48-47 with 65 seconds left. That set up Riedl's heroics 12 ticks later with a pair of charity tosses that gave West the lead for good followed by a pair from Angelina Ocampo that gave it the final margin of victory.
Sophomore guard Lexi Kerstein, whose 3-point attempt fell short at the horn, led Deerfield with 18 points.