Maine South’s late surge sends Hawks past Libertyville

For the second time this season Maine South was facing a team it had faced in a holiday tournament final.

The Hawks had played Stevenson last month at the 'Grow The Game' showcase at Hinsdale Central after having beaten the Patriots to win the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic one week earlier.

Saturday evening they hosted a Libertyville squad it had beaten soundly by 30 points at Buffalo Grove's Bison Thanksgiving Classic in November.

But according to Hawks mentor Jeff Hamann, the opportunities that come from playing a 23-win Wildcats team again are too important to pass up.

"We prefer to play the best (competition) in the area if you look at our schedule,“ Hamann said. ”So playing Libertyville at this time of the year is a perfect time to play them and it's going to be great for both teams."

For those in attendance it turned out to be an exciting 32 minutes of play that saw the hosts use a 10-1 rally over the game's final 2:32 to emerge victorious for a second time over the Wildcats 58-53 in Park Ridge to move its mark to 27-1 on the season.

"I think we came out slow and we knew they were going to come in and play hard," Hawks senior guard Meegan Fahy said. "We played them earlier in the season -- it was a blowout (58-28), but they have gotten way better and we knew that coming in. Credit to them. I thought that it was really important for postseason. The game's never over. Keep playing, just remain calm and play the way we do and we will win."

Maine South needed to work its way back from a 52-48 deficit after a Madison Sears layup from a nifty Rachel Rule cross-court pass that gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the contest since scoring the first five points to open the game.

Fahy (game-high 16 points) scored five straight points beginning and ending at the charity stripe with her third successful conversion putting the Hawks ahead to stay 53-52 with 67 seconds left.

After an Asia Kobylarczyk free throw made it 54-52, the game's defining moment came when Wildcats freshman guard Lily Fisher (team-high 13 points) was called for a player control foul with 33 seconds left as she was in the paint with the basketball.

From there Ally Pape (11 points) and Ava Blagojevich made a pair of free throws each to seal the deal for Maine South.

Kobylarczyk added 13 for the Hawks while Kate Rule joined Sears with 12 points for the Wildcats (23-5).

"Maine South is a veteran team," Libertyville coach Greg Pedersen said. "They've been there before. They've done it before and they played in the last two minutes like they knew what to do. We'll adjust from there. We kept it close for the whole game so I think we feel pretty good coming out of here."

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