Loyola Academy girls advance; Maine South eliminates Glenbrook South
Tuesday's girls basketball games set the field for Thursday's Class 4A New Trier sectional final.
For the locals it was good news, bad news.
Led by junior Paige Engels' 28 points, No. 3 seed Loyola beat No. 2 York 69-66 in overtime.
In the early game at New Trier, No. 1 seed Maine South eliminated No. 4 Glenbrook South 61-41, beating the Titans for a third time this season.
Loyola and Maine South play at 7 p.m. Thursday at New Trier's Northfield campus. The winner advances to the Class 4A Fremd supersectional at 7 p.m. Monday against the winner between Fremd and Hersey.
Loyola (27-6) does not have a senior on its roster. Joining Engels in double-digits were sophomore Nora Emerson and freshman Clare Weasler with 10 points apiece.
"Coach (Jeremy) Schoenecker's always said, we could sit here and say, 'Oh, we have next year, too.' But we want to make this our year, and just build off that next year," Engels said.
Loyola led 55-49 with 37.5 seconds left in regulation. York (25-7) closed the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run. Mariann Blass, who made seven 3-pointers and scored 31 points, forced overtime on 2 free throws with 1.5 seconds left.
Meanwhile, Loyola went 0-for-4 from the foul line in the last 22 seconds. Two of those misses were Engels', shocking given that overall she was 13-of-16 from the line.
It seemed to propel the all-GCAC guard.
"I knew that after I missed those, once we went into overtime I just had to find a way to get it back," Engels said.
Literally she did, stealing the ball on York's first overtime possession and scoring, then scoring again after junior Kelsey Langston stole the ball on York's second possession.
With Engels stealing 2 more passes Loyola built a 64-57 lead with 1:04 left in overtime. The combination of Langston and Engels -- who scored 11 points in overtime -- was too much even for Blass' three highlight-reel rainbows in the last 54 seconds.
All-underclass Loyola has not one but two mantras: belief, and Why not us?
"I think they've really bought into both of those, and we'll give everything we have on Thursday night," Schoenecker said.
Glenbrook South (25-8) did the same on Tuesday, but as on Dec. 6 and again Jan. 20 in Central Suburban League South play, Maine South (25-7) prevailed.
"We do have multiple pieces that can shoot and that's what I believe makes us dangerous," Hawks coach Jeff Hamann said after his starters each scored at least 7 points. Meegan Fahy scored 16 points and Ava Blagojevich scored 15.
Playing a second straight full game and most of a third without injured starter Chloe Gonzalez, Glenbrook South nonetheless got balanced scoring early to lead 16-12 after one quarter.
That was a little misleading, because the Titans were heading toward 20 turnovers for the game while Maine South shot 4-of-21 in the first quarter.
That quickly changed. A high trap out of Maine South's 1-3-1 zone defense forced 6 straight Titans turnovers to start the second quarter, leading to a 16-0 Hawks scoring run.
Trailing 34-22 at halftime, Glenbrook South effectively attacked the lane for 2 baskets apiece by Anna Rosenberger and Gina Davorija to pull within 36-30.
A Hamann timeout served as a reset. Spanning the third and fourth quarters the Hawks mounted a 16-1 run for a 52-31 lead just inside of 6 minutes to play. The closest Glenbrook South got was 52-34 on Sidney Rogers' drive with 4:20 to play.
The point guard scored 13 points in her final high school game before she moves on to Washington University in St. Louis. Davorija added 12 points and Rosenberger scored 9.
Glenbrook South graduates Rogers, Anjali Nimmagadda and Amanda Karavites. The Titans will return starters Davorija, Gonzalez, Rosenberger, Paige Simon and Christina Korompilas, top-rotation forward Dana Ralston, and several others.
"Next year's going to be tough without Sidney, but I think me, Chloe and Anna and Christina, the other four starters plus Paige, I think we're all going to need to step up a little bit and take a bigger role," Davorija said.
Glenbrook South coach Scott Nemecek had high praise for his seniors and especially Rogers, the four-year starter, 1,000-point scorer and CSL South player of the year.
"In your career you only have a few kids who are exceptional, off-the-charts good. And Sidney was one of those," he said.
"I wish I could find a way to get her to fail a few classes and keep her around another year, if that was at all possible. But she is literally one of the best basketball players I've ever been around."
Rogers was the last to leave the basement dance studio the Titans used as a dressing room.
"I think starting off freshman year I didn't know what to expect, I guess. Coming in, having the seniors sort of pull me under their wing, it was just really great," she said.
"I think just learning from them, being a freshman on varsity, has really brought in values that I tried to do this year, especially with Gina last year, and her (now) being a sophomore. With the younger girls, I try to always make them feel included and make them feel like they have a part on this team, because everybody does. So I feel like I had to really learn that throughout my four years."
A tear rolled down her cheek. Rogers bravely smiled.
"Great season for me, I'd say. Obviously it's sad that this is ending, but I'm excited for college and all that stuff."