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posted: 1/12/2010 12:01 AM

Lisle comes close but can't stop Westmont

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  • Chelsea Peterson of Lisle reaches up to make a basket in girls basketball action against Westmont on Monday in Lisle.

      Chelsea Peterson of Lisle reaches up to make a basket in girls basketball action against Westmont on Monday in Lisle.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer


Wile E. Coyote had his Road Runner.

As for Lisle coach, Jeff Javior it's Westmont burgundy and gold that makes him see red.

"They're our nemesis," Javior said. "They beat us by 26 last year the first game, by 3 the second game and 7 in regionals."

The Sentinels did it to Javior's Lions again Monday, pulling out a 45-41 win to hand host Lisle its first Interstate Eight Conference loss.

The two teams combined for four lead changes and two ties in the fourth quarter, until Westmont's Sara Sternard hit 2 free throws with 1:23 left to give her team the lead for good at 42-40. Two more free throws by Raquel Pace - inserted in the game when Sentinels point guard Catherine Zapinski went down with a leg injury in the final minute - gave Westmont a 4-point cushion with 11 seconds left.

"We call them our rivals," Sternard said, "because they're the closest one to us in our conference proximity-wise. It's always kind of a 'beat Lisle' mentality.

"It's always a tough situation being at the line late in the game with the fans making all that noise. But I love all the pressure, to be honest. You just have to stay focused."

Sternard had 12 points and 7 rebounds for Westmont (14-2, 6-1), but made just 2 of her first 6 free throw attempts. She hit all 4 attempts in the fourth quarter, both times giving her team the lead.

"We made free throws when we had to," Westmont coach Michael McCord said. "Sara percentage-wise is our best free throw shooter."

Lisle (11-6, 5-1) found itself digging out of an early hole at home. A 9-0 Westmont run to start the second quarter gave the Sentinels a 19-8 lead. The margin ballooned as wide as 13, and was 27-19 at half. The Sentinels shot a sizzling 8 of 10 in the second quarter, sparked by Zapinski's 10 first-half points.

But Lisle crept within 30-29 after three quarters on a Chelsea Peterson stickback. Peterson, who had 16 points and 9 rebounds, scored on Lisle's first possession of the fourth quarter to push the Lions ahead 31-30.

"We played a half," Javior said. "Against a good team, that's not enough."

Colleen Drennan had 11 points and 9 boards for Lisle. Jackie Todd and Nicole Urban each added 7. Costly for the Lions was 5 of 10 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter, 6 turnovers and several misses from close by the basket.

"Missing bunnies, missing free throws - in close games that will kill you," Javior said. "They made their free throws when it counted and we didn't."

McCord is keenly aware this could be round one of three with Lisle. The Lions are seeded first and Westmont third in the conference tournament that starts this weekend. They also are paired in the same regional once again.

"We could be seeing each other for two more of these," McCord said. "I don't like it, but you gotta beat somebody to get places."