Hunt continues for a complete game : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Hunt continues for a complete game |
|Wildcats trail by six at halftime, but Oswego East girls explode in third quarter|
|by Laura M. Medina|
One big quarter helped assure that the Oswego East girls' basketball team kicked off the second half of its 2009-10 schedule on a winning note.
Senior forward Jasmine Davis and sophomore guard Arneasa Blair combined for 14 of the Wolves' 25 third-quarter points on Tuesday night, leading their team to a 65-53 victory over visiting Southwest Prairie Conference foe Plainfield Central.
The triumph was a solid way for Oswego East (13-4, 6-1) to start the second part of its schedule. The squad hadn't been on the court since Dec. 30, when it came away with a third-place finish in the Wolves Winter Classic, following a 65-61 win over South Elgin. The tournament, which was hosted by the Wolves, ran from Dec. 26-30.
Davis, who finished with only four points in the win over South Elgin, scored as many within the first few minutes of play in Tuesday's contest, putting the Wolves even with the Wildcats at 4 with 5:40 to go in the first.
Oswego East, however, turned on its offense soon after that, outscoring Plainfield Central 15-4 the rest of the quarter. Junior guard Brittney Glende led the way with five points, while Blair and senior guard Kyla Moore each chipped in four for the Wolves. Meanwhile, guard Brigid Hanley had a layup for the Wildcats during that stretch.
Plainfield Central (5-9, 3-4) trailed 19-8 at the end of the first and went down by as many as 14 points during the second quarter before the team orchestrated a huge rally.
Down 26-12 with 5:48 remaining in the quarter, the Wildcats scored 10 unanswered points, as Hanley notched six of those points and guard Fallon Gallagher (six points) added four in that span.
"Being in these kinds of situations, we've got to learn to bury people," Wolves head coach Nate Eimer said. "I think a lot of it is senior leadership; I put a lot on them to get things going. Me personally, I'm always an emotional coach. I'm always going to be getting up and yelling and screaming. But it's more on them to get this figured out."
Glende ended the Wolves' scoring drought, as she forced a steal, scored in transition and added a shot from the charity stripe to make it 29-22 with 2:21 left.
The teams each managed to put points on the board before concluding the second, but Oswego East's once-commanding lead dwindled down to just 31-25 at halftime.
That slim advantage wasn't going to be enough for the Wolves, and they responded with a 25-10 output in the third quarter to regain control of the game.
"I think it's just the way we've been all year," Eimer said. "We had one good quarter, a phenomenal quarter, and the rest were just mediocre. At some point, we've gotta figure out how to put four good quarters together."
Still, it would have been difficult for Oswego East to dominate the third had it not been for Davis' eight-point contribution, which pushed her team's lead to 56-35 after the quarter.
"We didn't have a good start at all," said Davis, who finished the night with 20 points and eight rebounds. "We started out slow, and usually, when we start out slow, we don't play well, so basically, during halftime, coach told us we needed to pick it up in the third quarter, and we played our hardest, because we had to."
Blair, who notched 10 points and five rebounds on the night, scored six during the Wolves' outburst, while senior guard Jourdan Jackson added four. Hanley, meanwhile, scored a layup and added a pair of free throws for the Wildcats during the run.
Oswego East also capitalized on Plainfield Central's miscues in that span, forcing six turnovers - three by senior guard Marissa Craft and two by Moore. By taking control of ball possession, the Wolves were able to direct the pace of the game from that point on.
"(Playing a fast game) is the only way we can play," Eimer said. "Early on, we tried to do some half court things, and we just don't do well with that. Our offense picks up when we play high energy, and our defense does, too, and that's just the style of basketball we know how to play."
After the Wolves came out roaring in the third, the Wildcats exploded for a run of their own in the fourth, outscoring the home team 18-9. Seven different players scored for Plainfield Central, with guard Bailey Wysocki leading the way by draining layups in transition on back-to-back possessions at the end of the quarter.
Oswego East's Jackson drove twice to the basket in that stretch.
While it was too late for the visitors to make a comeback, the Wildcats were at least able to cut their final deficit to 65-53.
Eight of the 11 players that the Wolves had on the court Tuesday were able to crack the stat sheet. Glende had 13 points, two rebounds, two blocks and two assists, while Jackson had nine points and two blocks. Additionally, Craft had six boards and six steals.
"I think any team, you don't want to have one person that takes the full load in terms of scoring," Eimer said of his team's ability to find offensive balance in this game. "We've talked about making that extra pass, and tonight, in spurts, we did a great job."
There wasn't as much equilibrium on Plainfield Central's offense, but three players - guard Lauren Kulaga and posts Kaycee Strom and Emily Mackley - finished with five points apiece. Oswego East, though, would have liked to contain the sophomore Hanley bit more, as she led the Wildcats with 20 points and five steals.
"When there's a good player - and number five (Hanley) was a good player - I'd like to see us all help out," Davis said. "We just don't depend on that one person that's assigned to that player to guard that person. We all need to do it as a team."
With the second half now underway, Oswego East look to build on the momentum gained from Tuesday night's win. One of the team's biggest challenges comes Friday night, when it visits defending SPC champion Minooka (10-3, 3-3), which lost 48-31 at Oswego on Tuesday night.
After that test, the Wolves will then welcome Hinsdale South - a member of the West Suburban Gold Conference - on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. before traveling to East Aurora next Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
"We have two big games coming the rest of the week, and we've got to be more consistent," Eimer said. "Minooka is right there with us; I think they're one game behind us in the conference. Hinsdale South is a good sectional team. We've gotta be more consistent and get these things done."
Notes: Jackson made her way onto the 10-player All-Tournament list on Dec. 30 when the annual Wolves Winter Classic came to a close. West Chicago defeated Lemont 44-35 in the championship game, and West Chicago's Claire Monroe earned tournament MVP honors.
-Oswego East defeated South Elgin 65-61 in the third-place game. Jackson scored 30 points in addition to hauling in five rebounds to lead the way for the Wolves.