Wildcats Edged by Lake Forest in 48-44 OT Loss

Tia Petrzilka, Staff Writer

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On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Libertyville Wildcats (5-6) girls varsity team faced the Lake Forest Scouts (9-2) for a nail-biting rivalry matchup, falling short in overtime, losing 48-44.

Going into the game the “focus [for the Wildcats] was to shut down [Lake Forest’s] main scorer, a post player,” according to Wildcats assistant coach Amy Holtsford in an email interview.  “The team responded well to that; she was held to 2 points for the entire game.”

After a shaky start and cluster of turnovers from the Wildcats, Lake Forest was up by eight in the first quarter.

“We regrouped after calling a timeout. We told the players to relax; we had confidence that they could handle Lake Forest’s ball pressure with a couple of minor adjustments, and our players did that,” explained Coach Holtsford.

The Wildcats managed to come back, but the Scouts still led 14-9 at the end of the first.

The Wildcats caught up in the second and the game remained a tug of war.

“Everyone was so excited because we came back from such a rocky start.  Our confidence was shook at first, but we picked ourselves up and started to play how we play, aggressive and focused,” said senior forward and captain, Claire Keefe, over a Facebook interview.

As the fourth quarter came to a close, the Wildcats were down by three with under a minute left, but Wildcat junior guard Morgan Manski hit her fourth three-pointer of the night, tying the game at 40-40.

“I was surprisingly quite calm because our team has been in this type of situation many times. All we had to do was play with control. As I got the ball at the top of the key, all I hear is (teammate) Claire [Keefe] screaming, ‘Shoot it! Shoot it!’ Honestly, with that encouragement, it definitely helped my shot go in,” shared Manski over an email interview.

“As we went into overtime, our energy was very high due to the fact that we had made a strong comeback. One of our biggest advantages is the high energy on the bench,” added Manski.

Senior forward Caroline Frea won the first possession of the overtime, but Lake Forest guard Halle Douglas marked the first two points. The Cats responded with a basket from Frea, making it 42-42.

Lake Forest guard Delaney Williams then scored, allowing Lake Forest to take the lead once again, at 44-42.

The Scouts and Wildcats each scored two more points, making the score 46-44, in favor of Lake Forest. With 8.5 seconds left in overtime, the Wildcats called a timeout.

After the timeout, the Wildcats lost possession as a result of a quick steal from Williams, who tallied the final points of the game, making it a 48-44 final.

Williams led Lake Forest with 24 total points.

Frea led the Wildcats with 14 points, followed by Manski with 13.

The Wildcats will face Stevenson (7-2) at Stevenson on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m.

“We did a great job shutting down their best scorer, and I think we also played hard and never quit. If we had had just one more possession go our way, then we would have come out with an exciting win over a strong Lake Forest team,” stated Coach Holtsford.  “A loss is never fun for players or coaches, but we shouldn’t hang our heads. We gave it all we had, and the game could have come out either way.”

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