By 7:30 p.m. Thursday it won’t matter how Waubonsie Valley played Wednesday night. It will only matter that the Warriors won Wednesday’s Bill Neibch Falcon Classic semifinal to reach the girls basketball final for a fourth consecutive year.
“And this year we hope to win it,” said Warriors junior Gratia Brooks, who played the entire game Wednesday at Wheaton North.
Down by 10 in the third quarter, the top-seeded Warriors rallied in the fourth to overcome fourth-seeded Lyons Twp. 47-43. After losing the championship the last two years to Hersey and the year before that to Hinsdale Central, the Warriors meet second-seeded Glenbrook South on Thursday night.
“We didn’t deserve to win tonight,” Waubonsie Valley coach Kim Connell said. “Lyons deserved to win. We did what we needed to do to win the game. It was a 180-degree difference between last night and tonight. We didn’t play very good team basketball tonight.”
The game started out well enough for the Warriors (11-1), who took an 8-point first-quarter lead only to watch Lyons Twp. rally in the second quarter and go into halftime leading 24-20.
The Lions opened the third quarter by scoring the first six points to take a 10-point lead, which Waubonsie Valley cut to 6 by the end of the third.
“I was concerned, part of my pregame, was the letup, not taking Lyons Twp. seriously,” Connell said. “(Tuesday night’s win against host Wheaton North) was in my mind like a championship-caliber game. I don’t know if that took a little bit of the air out of them, but we didn’t play good team defense.”
That six-point Lyons lead vanished quickly in the fourth period, with the Warriors scoring the first seven points to regain the lead on a Becky Williford basket with 6:24 to play. The lead went back and forth until Gratia Brooks fed Rachael Ross underneath for a 44-43 Warriors lead. The Lions (9-3) never scored again.
“The fourth quarter we knew we were down, so we all had to play team ball, try to get up,” said Brooks, who scored 8 of her 12 points and grabbed 5 of her 11 rebounds in the fourth. “Me and Erica (Jordan) hit the boards pretty well, and Rachael. Rebounding was the key to the fourth quarter and us winning that game.”
Senior Tami Morice hit four 3-pointers to add 12 points to Waubonsie’s total, and Williford added 11 points. Colleen Connors’ 15 points led Lyons Twp.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.