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Girls Basketball: Homewood-Flossmoor survives test from Lincoln-Way East

Updated: March 15, 2014 6:34AM



Homewood-Flossmoor hasn’t had much in the way of challenges from Southland foes this season.

Lincoln-Way East has been an exception.

“They always play hard,” H-F’s Kristen Moore said. “And they’re a good three-point shooting team.”

Losers by 13 points in an earlier meeting, East brought it all on Thursday before the visiting Vikings toughed it out over the final four minutes for a 49-42 victory.

Moore had 14 points and five rebounds, Amarah Coleman 11 points and five rebounds and Lexi Smith eight points as H-F (21-2, 14-0) closed out a perfect SouthWest Suburban Blue season.

Dana O’Grady (16 points), Kara Krolicki (15 points) and Haley McCabe (7 rebounds) paced East (20-5, 11-3).

The Griffins, who were thrown into a 15-2 hole early, dug their way out with a superlative second-half effort in which they hit six three-pointers. The last two, by Krolicki, left them in a 42-42 tie with 4:59 remaining.

They had a chance to take the lead when Claire McMahon let fly from three-point range at the top of the key but the ball rattled in and out.

“When it was tied up a lot of them had some shocked looks, like, ‘We’ve got to hurry up,’ ” H-F coach Anthony Smith said. “I was like, ‘Relax. This is something good for us, to have a close one.’

“I saw some girls get a little tight and upset because it was close and they panicked. I was like, ‘You can’t panic now. This is what we live for. You’re going to have to play close games.’ ”

H-F went in front with 2:59 left on a free throw by Coleman. Moore added another on the next possession before Coleman scored on a layup.

“Composure and patience, that’s all it took,” Coleman said. “You can’t get rattled with how the score is going or how the stands sound. You just have to be content and be patient, play as a team and trust each other.”

In between the first and the final four minutes, it was a sloppy night for the Vikings, who missed myriad layups and hit a bad spell at the free-throw line. They also lost a key player late in the second period when Ashley Johnson banged her head in a collision and was attended to by the trainer for the rest of the game.

East didn’t take full advantage early on, failing to connect on a three-pointer the entire first half. But when O’Grady hit one at the start of the third quarter, it was a spark that turned into a flame. Krolicki, who had just two points in the first 16 minutes, roared to life with a pair of field goals and three threes.

Two turnovers and three missed threes over the final three minutes, however, spelled the end for East.

“It’s been a good effort all year,” East coach Jim Martin said. “We play pretty well as a team. I know it’s a cliche, but we share the ball well.

“You give ’em all a hug in (the postgame), tell them we’re proud of them. We’re tired of the moral victories, but it was great. For as good and talented as they (H-F) are, it was a tremendous effort.”



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