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Wolves stay in the hunt with buzzer-beater : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Wolves stay in the hunt with buzzer-beater
Schultz hits game-winner against Minooka

by Kristin Sharp


Consistency in Southwest Prairie Conference play has allowed the Oswego East girls' basketball team to keep pace with the league leader in January.

The Wolves clinched a 57-44 victory over Plainfield North to complete the two-game sweep over the Tigers last Friday. On Tuesday, Oswego East hosted Minooka in a key SPC game given that the Indians' only losses have come at the hands of rival Oswego. Trailing by one point with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, Oswego East freshman Sydney Schultz converted under the Wolves' basket to help secure a 45-44 victory over the Indians.

With the pair of SPC wins, Oswego East improves to 12-9 overall and 7-1 in the league to remain one game behind Oswego, which stands undefeated at 8-0.

Oswego East has won seven consecutive games and eight of its last nine with its only loss coming at the hands of York in the Holiday Classic. Six games remain in the regular season.

"There's a lot better feeling going on right now," Oswego East head coach Abe Carretto said. "Last year we couldn't get going. ... We were just up and down trying to figure it out. Right now with everyone back and healthy, everyone is figuring out what they can do. Players who are on the bench are coming off the bench and doing their part. They did that before, but they had to do it a lot longer when Julianna (Wadsworth) was out. I think they're being rewarded because they're scoring more and playing really good defense for a number of minutes, giving our starters a break. It's almost like we're not missing a step when people come into the game."

Last Friday, Oswego East played Plainfield North and rolled out to a 12-2 lead, never looking back en route to the win.

"I called a timeout and reminded them that they had to make sure we keep it going and keep our lead and stay composed," Carretto said. "For the most part, it was an eight point to double digit lead."

Senior Venita Parsons led the way with 19 points, five rebounds and three assists while junior Nia Flowers chipped in with 11 points, four boards, five steals and four assists and Wadsworth had 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in the balanced effort.

Schultz chipped in with six points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots and junior Bri McWaine had nine rebounds.

On Tuesday against Minooka, Wadsworth had 14 points and six steals, Flowers finished with 14 points, four assists and four steals, McWaine added 12 boards and Parsons had nine points while Schultz chipped in with eight points.

Following Schultz's late basket to put the Wolves' ahead, Minooka missed a shot attempt, pulled in its own rebound and sent a putback attempt through the net after time expired.

Oswego East will now visit Plainfield East on Friday before traveling to Plainfield South next Tuesday. The stretch also brings a home game against Romeoville, and all three teams stand in the bottom half of the SPC standings. That would set up a key week against Minooka and Oswego on Feb. 4 and Feb. 7, respectively.

"Minooka is trying to think that they still have a chance. They're a good team and they're doing a few different things on defense from last year," Carretto said. "They have some speed on their team and (head coach) Ray (Liberatore) always does a good job with his players getting them to compete. We have to be ready and take it one game at a time in order to get to that point.

"Every game is big now because we have an opportunity to stay in the hunt. That's what it all comes down to. We have to play our game, play well against teams and win."

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