Girls Basketball: Richards thwarts Oak Forest
By Tony Baranek email@example.com January 16, 2014 8:58PM
Richards' Christina Kwartnik (21), guarded by Oak Forest's Amy McKeown (22), shoots in Oak Lawn, Thursday, January 16, 2014. | Jim Boyce~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 18, 2014 6:28AM
Richards has a few different defensive presses. Thursday night, the host Bulldogs used one of them to flatten Oak Forest 60-48 in a South Suburban crossover.
Sydni Tears dominated for Richards (7-9, 2-5) with 25 points, while Taylor Sonichsen added 14 and Christina Kwartnik 11.
Oak Forest (8-9, 5-2) was led by Taylor Sterkowitz (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Maddie Baxa (15 points).
A game of momentum swings finally went Richards’ way in the final handful of minutes during a fourth quarter in which it outscored the Bengals 18-8. Much of it was achieved by a 2-2-1 trapping defense that forced myriad bad passes by Oak Forest.
“We work on it all day during practice,” Sonichsen said. “It’s just something we’re working hard on getting better at and every day we get better.
“We’re a young team and we don’t have height, so we’re just trying to work our way up there. I think we’re proving a lot lately; we’re playing tough defense and we’re getting on the boards. It’s finally paying off for us.”
The 5-foot-4 Sonichsen broke a 42-all tie with 5:37 remaining by hitting two free throws. It began a surge by Richards that included back-to-back layups by Tears and Kwartnik. Tears later dialed up twice more for baskets before a 7-of-8 flurry of free throws put the game away.
For the Bengals, it was an uphill battle in which they never could quite get control.
Richards hit seven of its first nine shots in building an 18-10 first-quarter lead. The Bengals rallied behind 10 second-quarter points by the 6-foot Sterkowitz to take a 27-26 halftime lead.
Another wild points swing in the third period saw Richards go in front by nine, only to see Oak Forest score seven points in final minute, Baxa drilling a three as the buzzer sounded.
Sterkowitz scored Oak Forest’s first basket of the fourth period, but soon after went to the bench in favor of more guards to try to break Richards’ pressure defense.
“I thought coach (Jeff Kortz) and his staff had a real nice plan coming in,” Bengals coach Jim Matlon said. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t handle the pressure. His kids did an outstanding job of forcing our kids into some key turnovers, especially down the stretch.”