Waubonsie Valley's late surge beats Naperville Central
Waubonsie Valley resisted Naperville Central's second half rally to win Tuesday's Class 4A West Aurora girls basketball sectional semifinal, 75-65.
"We figured they'd come out and we wanted to withstand that by making good sound decisions," Warriors coach Brett Love said. "Stay in front of them and if they make a shot move onto the next play."
Waubonsie Valley (24-7) got a huge boost off the bench from Arianna Garcia-Evans (13 points) to take a 32-18 lead with 2:27 left in the first half. The freshman turned a turnover into a three-pointer before scoring again 35 seconds later on a putback.
Trailing by 13 points with just over three minutes left in the third quarter, Naperville Central (23-11) needed a spark. Senior Megan Norkett provided it, scoring 11 of her 23 points as the Redhawks rallied ahead.
Freshman Trinity Jones followed her own miss with 4:56 left in the game to give the Redhawks a 56-54 lead. It was the team's first lead since freshman Erin Hackett (12 points) knocked down one of her four three-pointers to open the second quarter.
"We knew we had to bring the ball to the rim and get some good contested shots that we could score," Norkett said. "We played strong at the end, but didn't get what we wanted. Obviously winning would've been super nice, but I'm thankful to end this season with a great group of girls. We had a lot of fun."
Making free throws won the game for the Warriors down the stretch.
They made 19-of-20, beginning with a pair from freshman Danyella Mporokoso (22 points) midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game at 56-56.
Senior Taylor Curry made 8-of-9 free throws to break the tie for good.
"We had to keep attacking them," Curry said. "We could see how they were playing defense against us so we tried to get to the basket and get to the free-throw line and knock down our free throws."
Norkett's drive pulled the Redhawks to within 68-62 as late as 1:35 left but they wouldn't score again until Jones (17 points) made it 71-64 with 43 seconds left.
"The bottom line for me is they made more shots than we did," Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum said. "This one really hurts tonight. I thought we were on a good roll. We'd won 17 out of 18 coming in, but out of the 130-something teams in Class 4A, 130-something minus one end this way."