Pete Schneider didn't want the best girls basketball season in Lakes' history to end.
Which helps explain why he coached until the very end, even though his Eagles trailed visiting Richmond-Burton by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter.
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Schneider kept substituting four players at a time after changes of possession and burning timeouts, before Lakes, seeded fourth in its own Class 3A regional, finally fell to No. 5 Richmond-Burton 57-40 in Lake Villa on Monday night.
The Eagles, who won two games in their first four seasons as a varsity program, finished 9-18. Despite losing their last two, they won seven of their final 16 games.
"I wish the season went another four weeks, because we're getting better," Schneider said. "The great thing is, the seniors wish that too. These kids don't want to quit. I don't have 'senioritis' going on. I got kids that still want to play. They're bawling because it's over."
Richmon-Burton (13-14), which faces top-seeded Johnsburg at 6 p.m. in the first of today's two regional semifinals at Lakes, defeated Lakes 63-46 in a nonconference game Feb. 3.
In the rematch, the Rockets soared to a 10-0 lead, as Lakes didn't score until Asja Triplett (6 points, 9 rebounds) sank a layup with 1:56 left in the opening quarter.
"We knew that they were going to come out and be ready to jump on us," Richmond-Burton coach Melanie Hinz said. "Our game plan was to just get on them from the get-go, get up and then hopefully take control of the game the rest of the way through."
Sophomore Alex Callanan came off the bench to score 9 points, including a 3-pointer, in helping the Rockets outscore the Eagles 22-11 in the second quarter.
Callanan led all scorers with 15 points and also grabbed 8 rebounds. Senior Tracy Holian added 13 points and 6 steals, as the Rockets helped force Lakes into 22 turnovers through three quarters in building a 44-25 cushion.
Lakes received 8 points from sophomore Ashlee Cunningham. While the Eagles fell just shy of achieving their season goal of 10 wins, Schneider knows it was a productive campaign.
"The seniors have certainly laid a foundation for kids to come," Schneider said of Triplett, Jennifer Totten, Allie Laubenstein, Christine Osuma, Jenna Schellinger, Felicia Fisher, Katie Mulloy and Chantayla Bloomfield. "They displayed incredible work habits and discipline. They've been a great example to the younger kids."