OSWEGO – Yorkville has a deep roster of players ready to make an impact when their number is called.
While the contributions and strengths of Yorkville’s depth might vary nightly, the Foxes will undoubtedly test their opponent’s stamina every game.
On Thursday, they overwhelmed the hosts in the second half of a Southwest Prairie Conference game, using an 18-6 run in the third quarter to rally past Oswego East 50-37.
“It was a little slow start coming out of halftime and we talked about turnovers, but we still continued to turn it over more than I thought we should have, and we fouled too much,” Foxes coach Kim Wensits said. “I thought the kids did a nice job of responding. When you take care of the basketball and rebound, then you’re going the other way and you’re scoring and things begin to open up.”
Oswego East (6-20, 5-10) scored the first six points of the second half to take a 26-25 lead with 4:55 left in the third quarter.
But then Yorkville’s Brooke Spychalski (11 points) started to take over.
“I knew we had to push the ball and we had to make every shot we could,” she said. “So I took every opportunity I could get and put it in the basket because I knew [the game] could go either way at that point, so I knew I had to make some shots. And honestly, we got the lead and that gave us the win.”
The sophomore scored a tough basket in the lane early in an 18-6 run which she finished in the final minute of the third quarter with a fast break layup and a 3-pointer to give the Foxes a 43-32 advantage.
“They had a nice little run there, and I think what didn’t help us was we were getting good looks, but they weren’t going in,” Wolves coach Abe Carretto said. “We were crashing too many players and we weren’t getting back, but we had some tired kids out there, too, which didn’t help our situation. We worked hard, plus we were pressing.”
Maggie Lewandowski led the Wolves with 13 points. She sliced through the Yorkville defense on several occasions in the first half to get to the basket and score, but the Foxes were able to limit her chances in the second half.
“Good God, [Lewandowski] lit us up in that first quarter [with 9 points],” Wensits said. “Kudos of her for making it happen.”
And kudos to Yorkville’s Aliesha Peterson. The junior seemed magnetized to loose balls, making a huge impact without scoring while securing nine rebounds.
“She’s incredibly fast and has a knack for the ball,” Wensits said. “She’s done a really nice job, and we had her down for five offensive rebounds in the first half, and she had some big defensive ones.”
Yorkville (17-11, 9-4) overcame 21 turnovers. Seniors Ava Hendershott and Alex Stewart led the Foxes with 13 points each.
Stewart’s biggest shot was a second-chance 3-pointer that gave the Foxes a 34-30 lead with 2:23 left in the third quarter. Peterson and the Foxes fought and won two offensive rebounds before Stewart drilled that shot in the midst of a 14-2 run.
”Momentum just loosens you up, and especially for our kids,” Wensits said. “When we’re scoring in transition, we play so much better and so much more relaxed.”
When these two teams played on Dec. 6, the Foxes won 63-43.
“We were getting some good looks, but we could’ve been a little more patient and moved the ball around a bit more for cleaner looks,” Carretto said. “I think overall they weren’t bad shots, but they were going in and out or rolling off, but Yorkville had the same thing. They had a stretch where I thought their shots were going in and we’d get the rebound, but we weren’t converting.”