Maine South's Pape scores 41 to beat Willowbrook
Willowbrook point guard Sophie Sullivan scored a career-high 30 points on Wednesday night, which normally would be a cause for celebration.
But the SIU-Edwardsville bound senior wasn't doing any yelling.
Sullivan and her teammates were upstaged by Maine South forward Emily Pape, who tallied a career-high and school record 41 points to lead the visiting Hawks to a 71-67 victory.
It was the first home loss of the season for Willowbrook (19-4), which trailed by as many as 14 points yet got within two points in the final seconds when Sullivan scored on a driving layup to cut the gap to 69-67 with 12 seconds left. Ava Blagojevich sank both ends of a 1-and-1 with 7.1 ticks left to seal the win for the Hawks.
"She had a great game," Sullivan said of Pape. "We're a young team, but the last two games we've played some better teams and I feel like we're definitely coming together.
"It is just little pieces that aren't there at times. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and they had a lot of second chances and third chances. Those types of things are what help you win or lose a game."
Nobody did more to help the Hawks (15-8) win than the Cornell-bound Pape, who poured in 26 of her points in the second half after the visitors had taken a 37-26 halftime lead.
The 6-foot-1 senior shot 16 of 27 and made 8 of 9 free throws. She also had a game-high 12 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.
Pape, whose previous career high had been 34 points earlier this year against Lincoln-Way West, broke Maine South's single-game scoring mark of 39, which current assistant coach Emmy Paiser set in 1991. Paiser and the rest of the Hawks were loudly cheering every basket Pape scored down the stretch.
"It's super exciting," Pape said. "I couldn't have done it without my teammates.
"We were trying to win the game at the end, obviously, but a big part of it was them trying to get me the ball, which I really appreciated because they all knew it was a goal of mine to break the record. If it wasn't for them, I probably wouldn't have done it."
Maine South coach Jeff Hamann was happy to see Pape get the record.
"She's a special basketball player and she's worked extremely hard on her game," Hamann said. "Her success this year is a direct result of her hard work, her belief in herself and her teammates' belief in her. They got her the basketball."
Indeed, many of Pape's baskets came in transition. Meegan Fahy, who had 13 points and five steals, recorded three assists, as did Blagojevich and Caroline Barker.
The Hawks forced 22 turnovers, including 17 steals. Most came when the Warriors tried to pass the ball from the corner or the post back out to the perimeter.
"We tend to switch defenses a lot and go from a zone to a man and sometimes they can't tell what we're in right away and it kind of throws off their offense," Pape said. "So I definitely think our defense was a huge part of that.
"We've been working on communication and trusting each other in our zone, so the hard work definitely paid off."
The Warriors played without guard Calli Kenny for all but the first five minutes of the first half and forward Elle Bruschuk for the last five minutes of the second quarter. The sophomore stars both picked up two fouls.
"We were working with groups that don't play together all the time because of foul trouble," Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell said. "So it wasn't just the pass, but knowing where your receiver is, knowing where the receiver is going.
"When the pass comes out slow, they're going to get it. That's what got them the lead."
Even so, it was far from over. Maine South looked to be in command with a 66-56 lead following a putback by Pape with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter.
But Calli Kenny, who scored all 11 of her points after intermission, sank two free throws to spark a 9-1 run. Hannah Kenny, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists, fed Sullivan for a 3-pointer, then scored on a putback before Sullivan made two free throws to cut the gap to 67-65 with 33.3 seconds remaining.
Pape answered with a driving layup 11 seconds later for what turned out to be the winning basket.
"They played a great game, but our girls played hard and we shot extremely well," Harrell said. "The problem was we got only 39 shots.
"We had way too many turnovers and the turnovers hurt, but what really killed us was the second shots. They had over 60 shots and you give up that many extra shots, you're in trouble."
While he was happy with his team's comeback, Harrell lamented the missed opportunity.
"Everybody is getting excited to play us," Harrell said. "It's like we're the Lakers with Kareem.
"This is the third time a team has beaten us and cheered like crazy, so getting us at home was a pretty good trick. We've got to win some of these."
Sulivan, who shot 11 of 16, said the Warriors will do so.
"I think we're pretty confident," Sullivan said. "Once we clean up our little things and we just play with confidence and play how we know we can play, I think we're going to go far."