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Oswego clinches overtime win : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego clinches overtime win
Free throws seal game against Plainfield East

by Kristin Sharp


The Oswego boys' basketball team returned to the hardwood in dramatic fashion last Friday, pulling out a 60-58 overtime win against Plainfield East in Southwest Prairie Conference action, but the two-game win streak would not last long.

On Tuesday, Oswego traveled to Plainfield North and lost a 74-60 game to the Tigers to move to 6-6 overall and 3-2 in the league.

Friday's game marked the first contest since a win over Von Steuben in the final game of the Proviso West Holiday Tournament on Dec. 30, after a Jan. 7 meeting with Romeoville was postponed due to school cancellations.

Last Friday, Oswego trailed Plainfield East early as the Bengals assumed a 16-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, but in the second period, sophomore Steven Frank's basket pulled the Panthers within one (18-17) before freshman Jaylen Jones' basket put Oswego ahead by one.

"We were forced to condense our practices week and maximize a couple of days, but we planned and prepared beyond the X's and O's with the kids and their mindset, and we had our minds in the right place on Friday night," Oswego head coach Kevin Schnable said. "We believed and battled. Their team has talent, but talent is never enough."

The teams went point-for-point in the first half, with Plainfield East taking a 29-28 halftime lead. The Bengals surged ahead to lead 37-28 after intermission, but the Panthers were good at the foul line and free-throws by sophomore Joe Hennessy (11 points), junior Zach West (17 points) and sophomore Brice Robinson (13 points) put the Panthers ahead, 39-38.

Oswego maintained a 43-39 lead entering the fourth quarter and led by as many as five, but Plainfield East assumed a 50-47 lead late in the quarter.

"It was kind of a crazy game in that it was back and forth with the exception of the end of the first half when they blitzed us and went on a 7-0 run, and opened the second half in the same fashion," Schnable said. "There was a timeout called and we were down 37-30 and next thing we know we're up 43-39. In the fourth quarter, their experience took over a little bit, but we got Aaron Jordan into foul trouble, which obviously helps when their best player is benched."

West hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 50, and Plainfield East missed its three-point attempt as time expired on the clock.

The Bengals took a 55-50 lead in overtime, but Jones hit a three-pointer and Hennessy went 2-for-2 at the line to give Oswego a 56-55 lead. Teams exchanged points at the foul line, and with Oswego leading 59-58, the Bengals fouled Robinson with little time remaining.

Robinson missed his first free throw, but sank the second, and Plainfield East missed its final shot attempt to seal the two-point victory.

"We shot very poorly from the free-throw line (19-for-36), with the exception of overtime when we were 7-for-10. They took a two-possession lead on us and our kids really hung in there," Schnable said. "We had a no-doubt mentality that night. They hung in there and stepped up to the challenge."

On Tuesday, Plainfield North took a 36-33 lead and never looked back on the 14-point win. West had 14 points including eight in the opening period of play. Hennessy finished with 11 points. Oswego shot 34 percent from field goal range and went 6-of-13 from the line.

"They're probably the second-best team we've played behind Maine South. They have a few really good players and they shot the ball better from the field than we did at the line," Schnable said. "We have to be consistent, playing the same way on the road that we do at home. Consistency is a concern, as is the way we play when we're away from Panther Country. We have the problems identified; we have to work on solutions. We're 1-4 away from our own house and 5-2 at home."

Oswego will visit Minooka on Friday before starting the two-day Martin Luther King Tournament at Wheaton Warrenville South on Saturday. Seeded third, Oswego will play Chicago Clemente at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to Monday's semifinal game against the winner of Saturday's finale between No. 2 Bartlett and Wheaton South. Monday's semifinal will take place at 1:15 p.m. with the championship at 7:30 p.m. Oswego enters as the defending tournament champion.

"We're excited in the sense that we get to go there and defend. I like the fact that we see a city school - that's what tournaments are all about, seeing new people and different styles," Schnable said.

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