Hall girls regional
SPRING VALLEY — Girls post-season basketball got underway Monday night at Red Devil Gymnasium for the Hall 2A Regional, with two area teams advancing to play on Wednesday night.
The Putnam County Lady Panthers (17-13) jumped out to a 15-4 first period lead and never lost momentum on their way to a 47-31 win over the Indian Creek Timberwolves (13-18). PC will next play the host Lady Devils (18-8) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night.
St. Bede (14-14) also maintained an advantage, albeit an uneasy one, throughout their game against the Somonauk Bobcats (9-16) with an 8-0 fourth period points run, giving the Lady Bruins the boost they needed to pull out a 48-42 victory.
SBA goes on to face Seneca (22-5) for the 7:30 p.m. game Wednesday night.
St. Bede 48, Somonauk 42
Double-digit scoring from Maggie Sons (16) and Naomi Ochuba (14) helped propel a more confident Lady Bruins offense, breaking four tie scores in the second half to prevail 48-42 over Somonauk.
“We’re making shots we haven’t made all year, and things seem to be coming together pretty good for us,” St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal said. “You gotta have energy at this time of year, and here we are. You want to win today so you can play again.”
McGunnigal saw a lot on his team that made him happy.
“I was really pleased with Naomi inside, Hannah Johnson got a little frustrated but kept plugging away and made a big bucket for us later on,” he said. “We hit some free throws, which was nice to do.”
Somonauk won the opening tip and made the game’s first basket, but that would be the only lead it would see for the evening. Ochuba responded with back-to-back scores, then came three-pointers by Sons and Carly Eustice along with a bucket by Johnson to help the Lady Bruins jump out to a 14-9 advantage at the end of the first period.
“We wanted to come out with intensity and I think we did,” Sons said. “We got a little sloppy at times, but overall I thought we really came together.”
The Lady Bruins got as much as a 23-14 lead in the second period until 8 unanswered points by the Bobcats, including back-to-back treys by Lexi Bell (10) cut it down to one.
Another St. Bede surge helped them end the half with a 29-24 advantage.
One thing that’s always helped spark a bump up in scoring for the Lady Bruins was the attention of Maggie Sons, always on the lookout for an opportunity to make a steal and quick layup.
“She’s got a good eye,” McGunnigal said. “That’s what you expect out of your senior leaders, right there. Her and Naomi big time tonight, and that’s huge.”
Somonauk points leader Kaitlynn Boczko (16) asserted herself more in the second half, tying the score three times for the Bobcats in the third period, only to see Sons or Eustice pull the Lady Bruins out again.
“I was hoping we could’ve stopped them more, but they hit some shots,” McGunnigal said. “If we couldn’t stop them, I hoped we would score enough, and we did.”
Sons opened the fourth period with a tie-breaking 3-pointer only to see Bell respond with one of her own to even up the game for the last time, 40-40.
McGunnigal shared how he felt seeing the game being so close yet again.
“Scared me,” he said with a nervous laugh. “You don’t want to go home at this time of the season. But the girls never doubted, played hard, stuck with the plan, and just kept scoring.”
Meanwhile, the Bobcats could only get a couple of free throws in, watch the Lady Bruins take possession of the ball at :42 left and see the last seconds of the game and their season tick away.
This win accomplished, the Lady Bruins have an even bigger task at hand against Seneca Wednesday.
“Same thing the last two times we played them,” McGunnigal said. “Aggressive, full court, physical team. They’ll be rested and ready to go at us.”
Sons, in her senior year, is looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re very confident from here on out,” she said. “I think if we keep playing like we did tonight, then we’re in a good spot.
“We want to cut the nets down.”
Putnam County 47, Indian Creek 31
Aggressive play and 13-17 free-throw shooting helped the Putnam County Lady Panthers get out front and stay there in Monday’s opener.
“We got off to a quick start,” PC coach Jared Sale said. “They were able to pull within six or seven points late in the game, but we kept our composure, executed when we needed to, and were able to push it to 16 at the end.”
Madelyn Dzierzynski led the charge for the Lady Panthers with 14 points, followed by Molly Boyd (13), Lindsey DiazDeLeon and Megan Wiesbrock (6 each).
“It was a big win for us, I thought we played well,” Sale said. “But with Hall coming up Wednesday, it’s back to work tomorrow.”
Hall Regional (2A)
#6 Putnam Co. 47, #8 Indian Creek 31
#5 St. Bede 48, #10 Somonauk 42
Game 3 – #2 Hall vs. #6 Putnam County, 6 p.m. Game 4 - #3 Seneca vs. #5 St. Bede, 7:30 p.m.
Winners 3-4, 7 p.m.