PLAINFIELD – The schools in Plainfield District 202 were closed Friday, but that did not stop the Plainfield East and Plainfield North girls basketball teams from playing a Southwest Prairie Conference game.
Attendance was limited to family members only for a game that was the front end of a girls/boys doubleheader. What crowd there was found itself treated to a game worthy of the billing, “The Battle for 119th Street.”
North came away with a 64-56 overtime win that saw East rally from a 16-point deficit early in the third quarter to take a five-point lead midway through the fourth before North answered and tied it at 53 on a pair of free throws by Sydney Scott with 9.9 seconds left. East’s Taylor French (11 points) missed a pair of free throws with five seconds left, and the game went into overtime.
In the extra period, North’s Jayln Patterson took over underneath, scoring seven of her game-high 24 points. Patterson also had a game-high 14 rebounds for the Tigers (9-5, 5-1 SPC), who played in their third overtime game of the season. She also played much of the fourth quarter and overtime with four fouls before fouling out with 1:11 left in overtime.
“I’ve had a few games where I was battling foul trouble,” Patterson said. “I knew I only had one left in the fourth quarter and overtime, so I tried to make certain I didn’t get the last one.
“We have worked a lot on getting the ball to the post, on-ball screens, looking for the pick-and-roll. It worked out well tonight.”
Plainfield North weathered a furious rally by East in the second half. The Tigers led, 29-16, at halftime and moved out to a 32-16 lead early in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Lexi Salazar (21 points). East proceeded to outscore North, 20-6, the rest of the quarter, with Jocelyn Trotter scoring 12 of the points, including a basket with 1:32 left that tied it at 36, the first tie since 9-9 early in the second quarter.
North got a bucket by Sophia Charbonneau to end the quarter with a 38-36 lead, but East opened the fourth with a 10-3 run to take a 46-41 lead at the mask break midway through the quarter. Nia Wilkerson (seven points, 12 rebounds) made four straight free throws in the stretch.
North finally tied it again at 49 with 2:13 to play, and it was tied at 51 with 1:06 left. East went ahead on a basket by Lexi Sepulveda (10 points) with 34.3 seconds left before Scott tied it with her two free throws.
In overtime, Patterson made a pair of free throws to start the scoring before East’s Anna Jenkins (9 points) scored on a putback to tie it at 55. North got a free throw from Salazar and a three-point play by Patterson to move ahead, 59-55, with 2:09 to play. Sepulveda made it 59-56 with a free throw, but Patterson scored again and Salazar added a pair of free throws with 38.9 seconds left for a 63-56 lead. Charbonneau capped the scoring with a free throw in the final seconds.
“We have only played one game since Dec. 22,” North coach Michaela Reedy said. “We used that time to work on more ways to get Jayln the ball. And we got Ruby Davis back, so we have worked a lot on our post entries. That was a big help tonight.
“It’s nice to have that option underneath when the outside shots aren’t falling. We know Lexi Salazar can shoot, but we need a back-up plan. One thing I have noticed about this group is that they are determined to come back if they fall behind.”
East coach Tony Waznonis said the same about his own team.
“Earlier in the year, if we fell behind by 16 like we did tonight, we might have ended up losing by 20 or 30,” he said. “I am very proud of how far these girls have come and that they kept playing hard.
“We knew the game would probably come down to free throws and rebounding, and we did pretty good on both of those. We have been trying to get Jocelyn Trotter to play more aggressively, and I think she still has another level she can reach. And, I told Taylor French after the game that she is the one we would want at the free throw line. Earlier this week, she hit six free throws down the stretch to ice the game for us. Overall, I am very proud of how the girls played.”