LHS varsity girls basketball caps off exciting crosstown game with a win over the reigning state champs: the Carmel Corsairs


Caroline Scott

Senior Emily Fisher (3) starts off the fourth quarter with a layup, carrying the Wildcats to a lead of 41-39.

In a nail-biting home game on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, the Libertyville girls varsity basketball team claimed the win against the reigning state champs, the Carmel Catholic Corsairs, during a heated showdown in the main gym. During an amazing second half comeback, the Wildcats defeated the Corsairs with a score of 50-47.

The game started out rough, with multiple immediate scores by Carmel’s star senior Jordan Wood (13). Libertyville was only able to put three points on the board compared to Carmel’s 13 points at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter started out a little better with scores from senior Emily Fisher (3) and junior Kate Rule (24). But for each basket the Wildcats scored, the Corsairs sank one too, kicking off a back and forth that lasted the majority of the quarter. The Wildcats constantly tried to shrink the lead to ten points, but each time Carmel scored again. Despite this, thanks to a three pointer by freshman Sophia Swanson (10) and a series of free throws, the Wildcats closed Carmel’s lead to only 10 points, and the score going into halftime was 29-19.

Something changed after half time. The team put their starters back in, and came out more aggressive than before. “We got fired up in the locker room before the second half,” Kate Rule explained. “We knew what we needed to do and that energy was really a difference maker.”

Right at the start of the second half, Rule sank a 3-pointer, kicking off a series of baskets for LHS, including multiple by her twin, junior Rachel Rule (32). Unfortunately, Carmel also came back fighting, keeping their lead of 10 points for the majority of the quarter. It wasn’t until the final few minutes of the quarter that the Wildcats revealed their skill that they’ve been showcasing all season.

It started with baskets by Fisher and Kate Rule, closing the lead to 39-33. Thanks to the increasingly intense defense by junior Maddy Kopala (42), the Wildcats kept the Corsairs from scoring for the rest of the quarter. This, coupled with the momentum on offense, enabled Rachel Rule to close the gap to only two points with a minute left in the third quarter. With only 45 seconds left in the quarter, she raced to the basket, tying the game, 39-39.

The final quarter was a rush by both teams to gain on their opponent, filled with messy fouls, missed opportunities and exciting scores. The first four minutes of the quarter was a series of missed shots from both teams with both teams barely putting up three points. 

However, with only 3:38 left, Fisher scored to allow Libertyville to take the lead for the first time. This launched a series of baskets by Fisher and Kate Rule, while the defense was able to keep Carmel to only 5 points. With 38 seconds left, Kate Rule was able to secure the lead with a series of free throws, making the score 50-47 with 10 seconds left. 

At this point the Wildcats turned to an aggressive strategy to keep their lead. Fisher, Kopala and junior Talya Tillman (33) fouled Carmel’s players in order to run down the clock and win the game. 

Head Coach Pedersen reflected on the final home game of the regular season. “When we started our season, we probably wouldn’t have won this game,” he remarked. “They’ve learned each other’s tendencies and the energy level in the second half today was something that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve earlier in November.”