NEW LENOX – After getting off to a bad start, Lincoln-Way West’s girls basketball team needed to turn up its game at home in the second half Tuesday against Bolingbrook in a clash of two of the SouthWest Suburban Conference’s top teams.
The Warriors fell behind, 17-5, after one quarter and still were down, 31-21, at halftime before they began to come to life in the second half, outscoring the Raiders 19-5 in the fourth quarter to rally them to a 62-52 victory.
Senior Taylor Gugliuzza scored 17 points, junior Tara had 21 points, and their freshman sister, Ava, added 11 points for West (9-1), which bounced back from its first loss of the season on Saturday, when it fell 59-54 to top-ranked Benet Academy.
Taylor Gugliuzza made a big turnaround after the first half, where she scored only four points, which all came on free throws. After getting six points in the third quarter to help the Warriors close the gap to 47-43, she added seven more points in the fourth quarter.
“In our first half we played pretty poorly,” Taylor Gugliuzza said. “We weren’t really getting together to calm down, so our goal was to start scoring in bits and pieces so that we could get the momentum for the fourth quarter and then pull away, and that’s exactly what we did, and we actually did better than we thought we would. They weren’t able to score as much as they have been, so I definitely think our defense was one of the big reasons we won that game.”
The fourth quarter was a nightmare for the Raiders (4-3), who only made one of 15 field-goal attempts in addition to four turnovers. A 12-2 run by the Warriors boosted by a free throw and 3-pointer from Tara Gugliuzza (six rebounds) and two layups from Taylor Gugliuzza put West up, 55-49, with 3:05 left, and Bolingbrook got no closer than four points after that. The Warriors also received nine points and eight rebounds from Bri Wooldridge.
“We wanted to come out and change the tempo from the first half, where we looked uncomfortable,” Warriors coach Ryan White said. “We wanted to shift the pace and get us up and down and free us up for some looks, and it ended up working.
“And it seemed that it kind of gassed them, and we were attacking the basket, and that finally seemed to free up our shots. The 21 points in the second half for us on defense was a big thing to improve on that end of the court.”
Leading the Raiders were Kennedi Perkins and Treasure Thompson (12 rebounds), who each had 14 points, while Danyel Middleton scored 13 points and De’Ahna Richardson added seven points.
“It was a game where the lack of discipline showed up,” Raiders coach Chris Smith said. “We gave up 41 points in the second half. We broke down defensively and have to learn how to guard some people. We couldn’t keep people in front of us, our rotation became very bad, and mentally we just quit. Collectively as a team, we have to learn to play for 32 minutes.”