Girls basketball: Libertyville gets measure of revenge in win over Maine South
It's been a terrific week for the Libertyville girls basketball team.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats avenged an earlier defeat by getting a league win against Lake Zurich, and in the process clinched at least a share of the North Suburban Conference title.
Libertyville did it again Thursday night, earning another measure of payback against visiting Maine South.
The Hawks had also downed the Wildcats earlier in the year, but Libertyville got the better of the them the second time around in a 52-47 victory on their home court, improving to 24-4 on the season.
"We had lost to them already, so we wanted to come out strong," said Wildcats forward Talya Tillman. "I was ready to win."
It was Tillman who led the way for the home team, especially in the first quarter when the junior scored 11 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 2 blocked shots in pacing her team to a big early lead.
The victory didn't come without a big-time rally from Maine South, which fell to 21-6 on the year in the battle between two of the top teams in Illinois.
The Hawks trailed by 13 in the first quarter but roared back to grab the lead, only to fall just short.
"Libertyville put up a great fight the entire game, credit to them, but once we got locked in it was all mental," said Maine South junior guard Ava Blagojevich, who led the Hawks with 16 points.
The Wildcats came out on fire in the first 8 minutes Thursday, and when senior Emily Fisher got a steal and fed teammate Kate Rule for a layup, the score was 16-3 Libertyville.
At that point the Hawks called timeout.
"We collected ourselves and came out ready to play," Blagojevich said.
The Hawks crept closer in the second quarter, and when junior Meegan Fahy (15 points) sank a bucket at the buzzer, the halftime deficit was just 27-21.
Maine South took their first lead at 30-29 midway through the third quarter when Blagojevich hit a long three.
The Hawks kept the pressure on, and after 4 points from Katie Barker midway through fourth, they had opened up a 41-35 advantage.
"Just the support of coaches and teammates," Blagojevich credited for the Hawks comeback. "No one on this team ever gets down, we're all together and all supportive no matter what the situation is."
Trailing by six, Libertyville rallied back behind 8 consecutive points by Fisher to retake the lead.
The Wildcats held on down the stretch, hitting 11 free throws in the final minutes, with Kate Rule (16 points) a perfect 6-6 from the line.
"We stayed focused and didn't let up," said Tillman, who had some big rebounds late in the final stanza to help keep the Hawks at bay.
"It feels good to get this win."
Asia Kobylarczyk scored 10 points for Maine South, while Tillman and Fisher each finished with 12 for Libertyville.
And as far as the revenge factor is concerned, Wildcats 6-2 sophomore forward Madison Sears says that her team really doesn't think about that -- much.
"Sometimes it does (cross our minds)," said Sears, "but most of the time we're focused on what's happening now, not thinking about the past."
She also added that there was no question in her mind the Wildcats would prevail, despite losing the lead in the second half.
"We had no doubt," Sears said. "I know our team, I know how strong we are and that we'd pull through. We just had to work hard."