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Big defensive win : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Big defensive win
Oswego East girls' basketball team goes 3-1 to place fifth

by Kristin Sharp


The Oswego East girls' basketball team posted a formidable 3-1 run through its home Holiday Classic tournament, placing fifth overall after running into eventual tournament champion York in the second round of play.

The Wolves (7-9) had little trouble in last Saturday's fifth-place game, taking a double-digit lead over Lemont in the first half and cruising to a 41-31 victory to cap off the four-day tournament.

"I think we did pretty well. We had our lapses in the York game, but I think we could have gone 4-0 if we didn't have that lapse against them," Oswego East senior Venita Parsons said.

York defeated Sycamore, 40-35, in the championship game while Metea Valley topped Proviso East, 59-52, in the third-place game.

Lemont's only lead of the game came in the early minutes on a three-pointer, but junior Nia Flowers (10 points) answered with her own field goal beyond the arc for a 5-3 score and the Wolves never looked back. Parsons (10 points) scored four points in the opening period and senior Julianna Wadsworth (10 points) added two, while the Wolves' defensive pressure caused problems for Lemont throughout the morning matchup.

Wadsworth closed out the opening quarter with a steal and layup for a 13-8 lead, and freshman Sydney Schultz had a layup to start the next frame.

Lemont pulled within six (17-11), but Wadsworth took a charge under the Indians' basket and Flowers followed with a shot for a 19-11 lead with 2:55 left in the first half. Parsons scored before Flowers' lay-in gave the Wolves a 23-14 halftime lead.

"We work on charges all the time in practice. Some of the kids are a little nervous to take them, but you can see if you keep doing them over and over, someone steps up and takes them," Oswego East head coach Abe Carretto said. "It's nice to get those calls because you get some momentum and you get the ball back. If you see your captains doing it, everyone should want to try it because your leaders are out there doing the little things that everyone else should be doing."

Parsons hit a long jumper early in the second half and junior Bri McWaine got onto the scorebook with her baseline jumper. The Wolves also saw baskets from senior Sonja Lewis and Wadsworth before the close of the third period, while the Wolves held Lemont to just three points - all at the foul line - in the entire quarter.

"I think it was a good accomplishment for us because we've been really working on our defense," Parsons said. "We have a goal to not let teams score over 40 points, so we've been trying to hold them to as minimal points in the first half and play sound defense. We executed that today."

Much of the fourth quarter was spent at the free-throw line, with the Wolves knocking in just three field goals to Lemont's four as the Indians outscored the Wolves 14-10. Flowers' basket pushed Oswego East's lead to 33-19 and Carretto utilized much of his bench throughout the remaining five minutes of play.

Tournament play opened on Dec. 23, with Oswego East earning a 61-36 over East Aurora. Schultz had 18 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore Alexis Davis had 10 points and junior Allie Shea chipped in with eight points off the bench.

Last Thursday, Oswego East fell to York, 46-40, after a tough first half of play against the Dukes. The Wolves trailed 33-19 at halftime, pulled within six, but were never able to take the lead against York.

Wadsworth had 16 points and four steals, Flowers had 11 points and Parsons scored 10 points.

The following day, Oswego East faced Aurora Central Catholic and won 45-31 to advance to the fifth-place game. The Wolves controlled the game from the opening tip, and Parsons and Schultz knocked in 11 points in the win. Wadsworth contributed with 10 points.

"We've got to try to get used to playing together still because Julianna was out for six games and now she's playing again in that starting role, so it switched a few things up and it's helped with fouls," Carretto said. "If Nia, Venita and Julianna can learn to play together and really distribute the ball to each other and to the post, this team can really be tough. If they try to create their own shots, that's when it becomes a little more difficult offensively. If this team utilizes each other, we can score a lot of points."

Oswego East will take a 10-day schedule break before hosting Minooka on Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

"I think we'll be ready. We'll do some conditioning during the rest of break and get back into shape after the holidays," Parsons said. "We'll be ready to play Minooka on Tuesday."

The Wolves are currently 3-1 in Southwest Prairie Conference action, with Minooka, Plainfield Central and Plainfield South ahead on the schedule to take Oswego East through the first round of league play.

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