On a night when St. Charles East senior guard Lexi Baltes reached a milestone with the 1,000th point of her high school career, it was another 1,000-point scorer who helped make sure the accomplishment occurred in a losing cause.
Samiya Wright, the second-leading scorer in Oswego girls basketball history (behind Teah Gant), and senior backcourt mate Brittany Collier tallied 15 points apiece to lift the Panthers (19-2) to a 53-47 come-from-behind victory over St. Charles East (12-10) Tuesday night in St. Charles.
"They love to play and they love to compete - they're relentless," Oswego coach Chad Pohlmann said of Wright and Collier. "They're making good decisions and they're playing like seniors. I can't say enough about them.
Wright, a Winthrop University recruit who has totaled 1,174 career points, fueled a furious comeback as the Panthers outscored the Saints 34-17 during the middle two quarters after falling behind 15-6.
Her 3-pointer tied the game at 19-all late in the first half and she canned a pair of fadeaway jumpers during the Panthers' 21-11 third-quarter surge.
"She's hard to stop and she's also kind of going backward on some of those shots," Saints coach Lori Drumtra said of Wright. "That was like money from the elbow there.
"They have four legitimate 3-point threats on the floor at one time, but I was more impressed with their penetration and pull-up jumpers because you don't see that very much."
Baltes, a 4-year varsity starter, became St. Charles East's second-ever 1,000-point scorer (joining 2005 graduate Claire Sheehan) when she received a pass from Kara Schnier at the top of the key and calmly drained a 3-pointer to pull the Saints within 52-47 with 19.7 seconds remaining.
"That was nice," said Drumtra. "It was a good look by Kara. She didn't feel like she had the post-up move and it was a nice kickout. Unfortunately, we didn't do enough of that tonight."
"I'm very proud to have her as a teammate," said Schnier, who scored a game-high 17 points.
Baltes, who scored all 9 of her points in the second half, only wished a victory had come along with the milestone achievement.
"It's awesome," she said. "I've been blessed to be with a great team for four years - I couldn't have asked for anything more. It's unfortunate that it couldn't have happened in a win."
Baltes' points didn't come easy against a quick, defensive-minded Panther team.
"She was hounded the entire time down the court (by Collier)," said Drumtra. "She was working so hard trying to run the offense and we were trying to get it inside early. We wanted to let our big people get established."
After being held to a season-low 21 points in a loss to St. Charles North 3 days earlier, the Saints scored the game's first 9 points, grabbed a 15-6 advantage after one quarter and led 21-19 at halftime.
But Oswego scored the first 5 points of the second half and never trailed again, thanks in part to 8-of-11 shooting from the floor in the third quarter.
"Eleven points (in the third quarter) is pretty good for us," said Drumtra. "I would've been so happy with that the other night. But you can't give up 21 points."
Kala Sigona and Jaime Rust each added 6 points for St. Charles East, while Paige Harmon had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Oswego.