NEW LENOX – If Lincoln-Way West’s girls basketball team could have continued what they did in the first quarter of Thursday night’s Southwest Suburban Conference crossover game against Bolingbrook they would have been in good shape.
They didn’t, however, and Bolingbrook controlled the final three quarters to come away with a 57-32 win after trailing 15-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Lincoln-Way West (7-9) was red-hot from 3-point range early, as Ava Gugliuzza made three 3s in the first quarter and teammate Allie Wondracek had two 3s. Gugliuzza’s third 3-pointer gave the Warriors a 12-4 lead. Bolingbrook’s Angie Smith (12 points) and Kendall Winston (10 points) sandwiched a basket each around a 3-pointer by Wondracek to cut the gap to 15-8 at the end of the first.
“We let Gugliuzza get off to a good start with three step-back 3s,” Bolingbrook coach Christopher Smith said. “We stepped things up on the defensive end after that and got after it. Our defense helped us create some offense, because we missed a lot of layups early.”
The Raiders (8-3) continued to chip away at the lead as Tatiana Thomas began to take over. Thomas, who had game highs with 20 points and 11 rebounds, drove to the basket repeatedly and was fouled often. She was 8 for 8 from the free-throw line in the quarter, and her pair of free throws with 2:55 to go until halftime put Bolingbrook ahead, 19-18, and they never trailed again. Meanwhile, the Raiders defense forced five turnovers in the second quarter and limited the Warriors to 1-of-13 shooting from the floor, the only basket was a 3-pointer by Wondracek. The turnaround put Bolingbrook ahead, 25-18, at halftime.
“Tatiana’s quickness helped her get to the free throw line,” Smith said. “That gave us an opportunity for some easy points.”
Bolingbrook was 14 of 20 from the free-throw line, with Thomas going 10 for 12. The Raiders’ defense held Lincoln-Way West to single digits in each of the final three quarters.
“Our girls just kept with it,” Smith said. “We pushed our defense out a little bit after they hit those 3-pointers. When we were down, the girls kept competing.”
Bolingbrook hit its first 3-pointer of the night when Kendall Winston opened the third quarter with a 3 for a 28-18 lead. The Warriors’ Aubree Schultz followed with a pair of free throws, and she was the first Lincoln-Way West player other than Gugliuzza and Wondracek to score. Schultz finished the quarter with six points, and teammate Raylan Caballero added one.
Bolingbrook got six points from Winston, four from Persais Williams and Thomas, two each from Miranda Fry and Jasmine Jones and one by Angie Smith to take a 44-25 lead into the third before outscoring West, 13-7, in the fourth quarter to provide the final margin.
“Bolingbrook is very athletic and quick,” Lincoln-Way West coach Ryan White said. “They are tenacious on the defensive end, and they wore us out. You could see at the end that our shots were short because our legs were tired.
“Still, the girls battled and competed. The final score isn’t really an indication of how this game was. It got away from us a little bit in the second half, but it’s a good experience for us. We won’t see anybody else with the quickness and athleticism that Bolingbrook has in the rest of our conference season. This game will sting for a while, but it will help us the rest of the way.”