Girls Basketball Medieval Classic Championship: L-W North rallies past L-W East for tourney title
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org December 28, 2013 9:16PM
Providence's Allysa Jurges wins the three-point shooting contest at the Medieval Classic. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 27, 2014 4:24AM
The drive down the baseline and the right-handed flick and bank-in by Kayla Kieklak with 8.8 seconds left was a highlight-reel play.
The steal by Ally Cappel a couple of seconds later was as clean and as clutch as it gets.
But the late heroics by the Lincoln-Way North duo were only the closing acts in a 54-52 title-game victory Saturday over Medieval Classic host Lincoln-Way East.
The comeback was possibly the marquee performance as the Phoenix rallied from a 13-point deficit against a team that it had lost to by 16 on Dec. 3 and had never, ever beaten.
“At the half when we were down, coach (Jim) Nair gave us a pep talk and told us we were just as good as them,” Kieklak said. “He said we could pull this off, and that it was going to come down to the end. It gave us a spark.”
Kieklak led the way for the Phoenix (12-3) with 24 points, while Lani Hicks added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Kara Krolicki had 22 points and Claire McMahon 14 points and five rebounds for Lincoln-Way East (10-2).
The second meeting of the season between the two teams looked very similar to the first - for awhile.
North’s strategy, at least defensively, was the same. The Phoenix went zone, and it didn’t seem to stop the East combo of Krolicki and McMahon, who combined for 24 of East’s 30 points, the duo splitting six three-pointers..
Down 30-22, Nair switched to a man-to-man defense for the third period. East converted on its first two possessions to go up 35-22, but the dynamic soon began to change.
North made a few stops, and then rifled off a 5-for-5 streak from the floor, with Kieklak hitting for a pair of threes and Kayla Horlacher one. The Phoenix caught and passed East with just over five minutes left in the fourth period, Kieklak and Horlacher going back to back from beyond the arc.
For the night, North was 10-of-21 from three-point range.
“We did get some open threes just from moving the ball around,” Kieklak said. “I think we wore them out on our five-outs. We just kept them running around, being patient and waiting for the open shot.
East took its last lead at 52-50 with 1:50 remaining on a running bank-in by Krolicki. It was 52-51 with 8.8 seconds left when Kieklak made her baseline drive. She had an East defender all over her, but managed to curl around on the right side and send the ball for a gentle kiss off of the glass.
East still had plenty of time, but hadn’t gotten the ball to midcourt when Cappel made a steal and was fouled. She swished one of two free throws.
“When (Nair) put me in there for defense he said to lay off,” Cappel said. “But my girl got the ball and crossed over right in front of me. So I put my hand in there and luckily I got it and then she pushed me.”
After Cappel’s free throw, East hustled the ball downcourt, but a long shot by Krolicki was off the mark.
“They played pretty good defense,” East coach Jim Martin said of North. “But I think they won the game the way they shot tonight. Kayla and Lanie shot the ball very well, and we gave them good looks.
“We’re a little different lineup when (guard) Dana (O’Grady) got hurt with a hamstring. We weren’t as quick and weren’t able to guard their circle motion. When he had the four guards in it was kind of tough matching up. They had some good lucks and they knocked them down.”
Minooka 44, Providence 43: Brooke Bachmann’s drive to the basket with 2.2 seconds remaining lifted Minooka (10-3) in the third-place game. Erin Heide and Kelly Carnagio scored 12 points each for the winners, while Alyssa Jurges tallied 16 points for Providence (12-6).
Andrew 75, Lincoln-Way Central 72: Michelle Borgen (27 points) and Georgia Alexakos (23 points) paced Andrew (4-8) in the fifth-place game. Candace Finnin scored 23 points for Lincoln-Way Central (6-7).
Plainfield South 47, Shepard 43: Plainfield South prevailed in the seventh-place game behind Tyler Everett (16 points). Courtney Dalton scored 12 points for Shepard (2-13).