Young ousts Bolingbrook in 4 OTs
Whitney Young waited four years to feel the joy of beating Bolingbrook.
What was another four quarters and four overtimes?
In an epic matchup more than worthy of a state championship game, Young toppled three-time defending champion Bolingbrook 74-65 in four overtimes in front of well over 2,000 fans hanging from the rafters at Monday's Class 4A Hinsdale Central supersectional.
Kentucky-bound Dolphins guard Janee Thompson scored 34 points — 21 in the fourth quarter and overtimes — for Young (32-0). Young, ranked No. 2 nationally according to USA Today, was the last Illinois team to beat No. 4 Bolingbrook, in the 2008 state championship.
Now Young moves on to face Bartlett in what can only be considered an anticlimactic state semifinal in Normal. Not to Thompson.
"It's a huge game — but we gotta finish downstate," Thompson said. "But this does feel ecstatic."
The game is tied for the second-longest girls basketball game in state history, according to the IHSA record books, behind only a six-overtime game from 1983 behind St. Joseph-Ogden and Fithian Oakwood.
Bolingbrook (26-2) led almost the entire regulation, until Thompson's free throws with 1:41 left gave Young a 43-42 lead. Two Thompson free throws made it 47-44 with 7.2 seconds left, but Bolingbrook's Keiera Ray dribbled length of the court and buried a 3-pointer as time expired to force overtime.
Two more Thompson free throws in the first overtime made it 52-50 Young, before Bolingbrook's Morgan Tuck hit a jumper in the lane with 24 ticks left to send it into the second overtime.
Bolingbrook appeared on the verge of winning it in the second and third overtimes, but both times Young came up with clutch plays.
Thompson hit a step-back tying 3-pointer with 39 seconds left in the second overtime, and after Tuck blocked a Thompson tying 3-point attempt in the final seconds of the third overtime, Alexis Lloyd picked up the loose ball, barreled into the lane and converted a three-point play with 5.1 ticks left. Linnae Harper's driving basket with 2:47 left in the fourth overtime finally gave Young the lead for good, up 67-65.
"To be honest with you, I'm really not that tired right now," said Thompson, who was 13-of-14 from the free-throw line, all in the fourth quarter and overtime. "Coach teaches us in practice to stay mentally strong and I think that's what it came down to."
McDonald's All-American and Connecticut recruit Tuck capped off a sensational career with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Ray and Illinois-bound Nia Moore, two more of the Raiders' eight Division I-bound seniors, both added 14 points.
"It was a heavyweight fight, and Young came out with the win," Bolingbrook coach Anthony Smith said. "I wish we had one more play in us. It's a tough game to lose but Young earned it."
Harper added 16 points and Lloyd 10 for Young, which had lost to Bolingbrook in the 2009 and 2010 state championship games and the 2011 state semifinals.
"I'm sure it was a great game to watch," Young coach Corry Irvin said. "It was a lot of fun to coach in."
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