Willowbrook is growing quite accustomed to comebacks, and close calls.
The 16th-ranked Warriors rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit Friday at Downers Grove South, watched the Mustangs hit a tying 3-pointer to force overtime, but never trailed in the extra session and won 54-50.
Willowbrook (14-3, 6-0 West Suburban Gold) won its third straight game — two of them in overtime — and in all three the Warriors trailed at the half.
“Obviously that was a bit of a surprise when she hit that shot, but now that we’ve had experience with these close games we know how to pull through and work together,” said Willowbrook junior Olivia Domin, who scored 16 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. “She hit that shot, but we just kept playing.”
Domin was a huge player in the comeback.
Starting with senior Colleen Krawczykowski still out with a stress fracture in her foot, Domin hit three 3-pointers to spark the Warriors’ comeback from 11 down midway through the third quarter. Her layup off a turnover tied it 36-36 with 5:37 left in the fourth quarter. Then, in overtime, Domin gave her team the lead for good, intercepting a pass and taking it the other way for a 49-47 lead seconds into the extra session.
“She stepped up tonight for us,” said Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell, whose team inched closer to its first Gold title in his eight years at the school. “We have four or five girls who can really score and usually one of them steps up. First half, nobody did. Second half, she did.”
Willowbrook and its high-scoring, fast-paced offense was stunted for a half by a tall Downers Grove South team and its zone defense. The Warriors trailed 26-15 in a half they shot 4-for-24 from the field in.
They started to attack it more out of the break, and got their transition game going. Molly Krawczykowski, who scored 15 points, rolled in a runner with 5:10 left to give the Warriors their first lead since early in the second quarter at 38-36.
“It was a horrendous first half. We’ve seen zones but not with that kind of size,” Harrell said. “They took a lot of stuff away from us but in the second half the girls came out determined to attack the basket. Halfcourt, fullcourt we were going to the basket and forcing the action. Getting out and running, that’s what we want to do all the time.”
A Krawczykowski driving layup seemed to have Willowbrook in control up 47-40, but the Warriors proceeded to miss 4 straight free throws in the final two minutes of regulation.
Claire Hardy’s turnaround jumper pulled Downers Grove South (8-7, 4-2) within 47-44, and after Willowbrook stepped on the end line with 4.5 seconds left Brittany Dietz threw in an off-balance 3-pointer to force overtime.
Dietz and Hardy both scored 14 points and Kirsten Zemke had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Downers Grove South, which closed the first half on a 13-1 run.
A Dietz 3 got Downers Grove South within 51-50 in overtime, but with possession and a chance for the win the Mustangs were called for a moving screen with 18.6 seconds left. Willowbrook’s Angela Bruno, who missed 5 straight free throws at one point, knocked down a clinching pair.
“My kids played hard, never say die,” said Downers Grove South coach Ellen O’Brien, who was down two players. “They came back and tied it up phenomenally. It would have been a heck of a storybook ending if we would have won after that shot, but I’m proud of my kids.”
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