LOCKPORT – After beating Yorkville last week by 23 points, few expected any difficulties when Minooka met the same team in Wednesday’s IHSA Class 4A Lockport Regional semifinals.
After all, the Indians were the top seed in the Plainfield North Sectional, and their 26 wins broke the school record, while the Foxes entered with only 11 wins.
But someone forgot to tell Yorkville that it didn’t have a chance, and the big underdogs stunned Minooka by forcing ties at 7 after one quarter and 14 at halftime before gradually starting to take control heading into the final quarter with a 27-22 advantage.
Although Minooka was able to take a couple of leads during the final quarter, the No. 17 seed Foxes were able to close out the upset and captured a 44-38 victory that advanced them to Friday’s 7 p.m. title game against Oswego East, which beat Naperville Central, 52-42, in the second semifinal game.
“Give credit to them since they had a great game plan, and they executed it,” Indians coach Jeff Easthon said. “They made big shots and did everything they needed to do to win.
“I told the girls in the locker room that when we asked them to do stuff, they just did it. They didn’t question it and gave 100 percent of what we asked. I’m very proud of the kids.”
In the teams’ earlier meeting Feb. 6, Savannah Johnson scored 22 of the Indians’ 59 points. But Foxes coach Kim Wensits was determined to not let that happen again, so she had her team play lockdown defense on Johnson, who was limited to only seven points.
“This was absolutely the beauty of sports,” Wensits said. “We had a little bit of an advantage since we played them one week ago today. When we played them, Savannah Johnson single-handedly killed us and we knew that she was a threat down there, and normally we front the post, but when we did that last year in the regional championship, she hurt us then. What we did in last week’s game didn’t work so we adjusted it, and my assistant came up with the suggestion to play a box-and-one on her.
“We took a gamble and said that we’d give them 3s, and if they got them, then they were going to beat us. But fortunately, they didn’t hit them. This is the third year in a row that some of these players have played together, and we’re playing for another regional championship. So they’ve been in these type of games, and I think our experience helped us.”
Cierra Bachmann led Minooka (26-4) with nine points, while Sophie Darden added eight points, and Breanna Hammer chipped in with seven points.
Meanwhile, the Foxes (12-20) were paced by 17 points from Lily Guerra, who scored 10 of those points in the second half. Other top scorers for Yorkville were Lexi Meyer (seven points) and Kenzie Senffner (six points).
“Everyone thought that we would lose, but then we came out playing stronger than we ever had and were doing everything that we’ve executed, and that’s what gave us the win today,” Guerra said. “[Johnson] was their biggest player in the last game, so we knew that if we could shut her down that we had a chance. It was really wild, and we worked really hard since we’re not ready to lose yet.”