Oswego East drops West Aurora into tie for 1st
Cami Phillips showed off her handles to finish off a game-changing scoring run and Oswego East handled West Aurora, 38-31, on Wednesday night in the Southwest Prairie Conference.
"I saw how she was guarding me and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to go behind my back," Phillips said of her layup midway through the third quarter. "At halftime I was like I've got to get my stuff together because the first half was like really bad. I was a little nervous, but when I saw where we were at (leading 22-15) at halftime, I got my stuff together."
She scored all of her team-high nine points in the second half, which included the layup, the first points of the third quarter with 4:31 remaining.
"Sometimes she starts out slow and she kind of slows us down as far as attacking or shooting," Wolves coach Abe Carretto said. "We've just got to continue to encourage her to shoot because personally I think she's a really good offensive player, and young players sometimes get frustrated if they're not hitting right away."
The game was deadlocked at 15-15 after Aspen Weeks scored for the Blackhawks (11-9, 8-3) with 2:57 in the first half. How it suddenly became a 22-15 lead was picture perfect offense; first with a basket in the paint by Angela Ruiz, then a nice drive from Cyndei Mitchell before finishing with stellar ball movement and a three in the corner from Maddie Stockley.
"We pushed the energy," Stockley said. "We were really working together today. That's what we practice mostly, especially because one of our main guards, Riley (Doggett), is out. We had practice with her out and ran the offense and I think that really got us pushing, and our defense, we had good help defense especially."
With Doggett out, the Wolves (9-14, 6-6) are looking for a collective effort to score, and undoubtedly, Phillips is a special kind of player that can do it.
"I've told her she's got to shoot more because she's got a good shot and she can attack the hoop," Carretto said. "(She) gets them out because she's a lot quicker than a lot of players and sometimes I'm putting her on the best player on the other team."
The Blackhawks are certainly tired of seeing Phillips and the Wolves, who also beat them 55-41 on Nov. 30. West Aurora does remain tied for first place in the conference with Plainfield North, despite two of its three losses coming against Oswego East, and this one without Doggett on the court.
Riley Mont, who single-handedly kept West Aurora in this game, did not play in the first meeting between the teams. She split two free throws with 59.8 seconds left to pull the Blackhawks to within 34-31 but they wouldn't get any closer.
The Wolves only converted 7-of-17 free throws, but made 4-of-5 in the final 52 seconds. The Blackhawks made just 6-of-13 of their free throws.
Mitchell and Stockley followed Phillips with eights points apiece. Ruiz had five while four others had two, including Katie Jorgensen who collected eight rebounds.
"Having a lot of guards helps, but as coach said, (Doggett) was our main scorer so all of us have to pitch in with more shots," Stockley said. "And I think that really helped in this game, and our defense stepped up to stop them, but we also talked back with our shots."
Weeks had six points and six rebounds and Kayly Jimenez grabbed nine rebounds for the Blackhawks.