Hoye’s big shot lifts Maine West

As soon as Amanda Hoye saw how Mariyah Henley was going to defend her, there was no hesitation from the Maine West point guard.

Saddled with 4 fouls and wary of fouling out, Niles North’s leading scorer backed off of Hoye, which allowed the senior to confidently fire a 3-pointer that gave host Maine West the lead for good and helped push the Warriors to a thrilling 42-37 overtime victory in a battle for Central Suburban North supremacy.

Maine West (10-15, 8-1) moves a game ahead of Niles North (7-2) and clinches at least a share of the CSL North crown. The Warriors can win it outright when they host Glenbrook North next Friday night.

Locked in a 37-37 tie, Hoye (9 points, 5 assists) found herself isolated with Henley on the weak side of the Vikings’ 2-3 zone defense and buried her third 3-pointer of the game for a 3-point lead with 1:08 left in overtime.

“They knew that I was a shooter so I didn’t get a lot of shots but when I saw them, I took advantage,” Hoye said. “Mariyah was expecting me to drive because she had 4 fouls, and she was sagging back so I just took it.”

Niles North’s defenders made it especially difficult for Maine West to consistently get the ball inside to leading scorer Brittany Collins, so coach Derril Kipp had to find another way for his team to score during crunch time.

“We could have gotten Hoye more shots than we did, but we just didn’t,” Kipp said. “We set up that play to run and got Hoye right where we wanted her.”

The Vikings’ Alissa Hirsh drove the lane on the next possession but Collins blocked her shot. The Warriors advanced the ball into the front court and Collins eventually found her sister Ashley for a layup with 16 seconds left to put the finishing touches on the win.

“We were really determined tonight,” Hoye said. “We knew if we won tonight, we would have a really good chance to win the conference (outright) so we played our hearts out.”

Kipp also lauded the defensive effort of Hoye, who held Hirsh to just 3 points after the Vikings’ guard went off for 22 in a 63-49 loss on Dec. 16.

“Most of the time, we left her wide open for 3s and she hit a lot in the fourth quarter,” Hoye said of the first meeting. “That killed us so we knew that we definitely had to stop her, and that was the key.”

Collins scored all 9 of Maine West’s points from the middle of the third quarter until Hoye’s big shot in overtime and finished with 17 and 9 rebounds.

Though points were at a premium for the Warriors, they made up for it on the defensive end, allowing only a Henley free throw in the fourth quarter and 3 points in overtime.

And while Maine West’s overall record may not be flashy, the Warriors have stepped up when the games have been most important.

“Outside of the conference, we have played some really good teams,” Kipp said. “At the start of the season, we struggled and didn’t really mesh together too much but we’ve gotten better the last part of the season. We are starting to pass the ball better and being more patient. It makes a huge difference.”

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