Girls Basketball: Sandburg outlasts Lockport
By Tony Baranek email@example.com January 8, 2014 8:20PM
Updated: January 8, 2014 10:03PM
The Sandburg kiddie corps wasn’t exactly the picture of composure during Wednesday night’s 44-40 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory over visiting Lockport.
The Eagles saw a 10-point lead entering the fourth period melt to one, and looked panicky at several points.
But freshman Julia Ruzevich found a comfort zone at a place in which all eyes were watching.
The free-throw line.
Ruzevich nailed 3-of-4 attempts in the final 20 seconds The last two, with 6.0 ticks remaining, put the Eagles over the top.
Victoria Stavropoulos had 14 points, Ruzevich 11 points and six rebounds and Sam Youngwirth six points for Sandburg (11-6, 2-1).
Lockport (6-6, 1-2) was led by Destiny Hollins (7 points), Kianna Campbell (7) and Kyla Creal (6).
For Ruzevich, the free throws were the payoff for some extra work she’d been putting in at practice.
“I’ve been practicing them a lot lately,” Ruzevich said. “They haven’t been my greatest (attribute) so far. But I know how to make those now, so I felt that I was in my comfort zone.”
Sandburg’s clutch had been slipping badly during the previous six minutes. The Eagles squandered almost all of an impressive third quarter in which Stavropoulos and Ruzevich had combined for 14 points to put them in a 36-26 lead.
Lockport, meanwhile, turned up the defensive pressure and forced nine Sandburg turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Porters went on a 7-0 flurry, culminated by a running bank-in by Hollins that made it 39-38 Sandburg with 3:18 remaining.
The Eagles broke a long dry spell when Youngwirth fed Jessica Merino for a layup. Lockport again drew to within one with 1:11 left when Campbell converted a Hollins pass into a bank-in.
Sandburg’s final turnover gave the Porters a chance to take the lead, but they came up short on a field-goal try.
“There are a lot of could’ves, would’ves and should’ves,” Lockport coach Krista Petersen said. “But I told the girls we can’t put ourselves in a situation to have 13 turnovers in the first half. That’s unacceptable. When you’re shot isn’t falling, you’ve got to find other ways to contribute, find ways to get it done.
“It was a great comeback, but we expect more.”
The Eagles, who have three sophomores and two freshmen as regulars, showed their youth, but survived.
“It’s a long game,” Stavropoulos said of the up and down play. “We get a little tired and the pressure kind of gets to us, but we try our best to keep our composure and pull the game out like we did (Wednesday).”