CICERO – Downers Grove North guard Ryann Wendt ended a seesaw week on a high note.
The 6-foot senior committed to Carroll College on Tuesday, two days before the shorthanded Trojans were upset by Oak Park.
But starters Kaitlyn Parker and Maggie Fleming returned from illness on Saturday – and Wendt found them early and often during a thrilling game against Batavia at the Morton College High School Jam.
Wendt scored 13 points and dished a game-high nine assists as the Trojans snapped a three-game losing streak by edging the Bulldogs 69-63 in double overtime.
“I think she brought some energy and she was aggressive in the right ways,” Downers North coach Stephan Bolt said of Wendt. “She took care of the ball.
“She got the ball where it needed to go and distributed the ball as best as she has all year.”
Wendt began the game by sinking a 3-pointer off an assist from 5-6 senior guard Ella Sebek, who was starting in place of 6-1 center Eleanor Harris, who is still sidelined with an ankle injury.
It was a sign of things to come as the Trojans (19-5) shot 7 of 9 in the first quarter in racing out to a 19-10 lead. They shot 60 percent from 3-point range in the game, sinking 14 of 20 attempts.
Sebek went 4-for-4, all from beyond the arc, while Parker sank three treys, Wendt and Kate Gross each made a pair and Fleming, Abby Wilkerson and Abby Gross all had one.
“I just let the game come to me and my teammates were moving really well for me off the ball, so it was easy to make the reads,” Wendt said. “I found the wide-open player each time because they had really good off-the-ball movement.”
That was crucial for the Trojans because without Harris, they didn’t have much size to match up with Batavia center Tessa Towers. The 6-5 Wisconsin recruit poured in 20 of her game-high 27 points after halftime and also had a game-high 11 rebounds.
“I knew it was going to be tougher going inside, especially with their big down there,” Wendt said. “So I knew maybe I wouldn’t be getting all the shots today, but finding my open teammates was key and we got it done.”
They did, though not before the Bulldogs (13-11) mounted a gritty comeback behind the play of Towers and sophomore guard Brooke Carlson, who tallied seven points in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 34-33.
Towers and Carlson combined to score 16 of their team’s 18 points in the fourth quarter, with Carlson making both ends of a 1-and-1 with 10.5 seconds left to tie the game at 51.
Kate Gross missed a contested shot at the buzzer and the game went to overtime, where Towers scored inside to give Batavia its first lead of the game.
“The first half was pretty hard for me,” Towers said. “None of my shots were falling and I was just getting in my own head.
“They just kept hitting shot after shot so we couldn’t get a run, and then we finally got a run in the second half and I was able to hit my shots and got my confidence up.”
Batavia took its largest lead, 57-54, when Towers drained a turnaround jumper with 2:35 left in the first overtime and had a chance to extend the lead. But Wendt made a steal and Abby Gross split a pair of free throws.
Wendt tied the game with two free throws with 1:15 left as Carlson fouled out, then hit two more with 47.8 remaining before Towers sank both ends of a 1-and-1 to tie it at 59 with 32.1 to go.
Fleming missed a couple of tough shots in the final seconds. But in the second overtime, Wendt found Sebek for the go-ahead 3-pointer and Fleming knocked down another trey on the next possession,
“(Sebek) did great today, knocking down shots, playing great defense,” Wendt said. “It was really easy to find her in the corners and she was ready to shoot. She got the job done.”
The same could be said of the rest of the Trojans. Parker tallied 12 of her team-high 14 points in the first half, while Sebek added 13 points, five rebounds and three assists and Kate Gross scored 12 points. Fleming finished with seven points, four assists and four rebounds.
“I’m just proud of the kids’ resilience,” Bolt said. “They fought hard. The kids needed a bounce-back game and they really did a great job coming back today.”
Despite the loss, Towers said she enjoyed the game, noting that the Bulldogs went 2-2 this week against strong competition, with quality wins over St. Charles East and Wheaton North and close losses to West Suburban Silver leader Lyons and the Trojans.
“Our confidence is actually pretty high,” Towers said. “It’s higher than it used to be.
“This week was probably the hardest week we’ve been through, but we have this great potential. We just need to rise to it.”
Downers North’s confidence is rising after the rare three-game skid.
“I think that it’s showing that we can make it far,” Sebek said. “We keep getting better in practice and it really showed in the game.”