Girls Basketball: Warren downs Zion-Benton in bizarre finishZion's Samantha Rodriguez (right) shoots one over Warren's Amanda Barger. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 13, 2011 10:29PM
Warren’s girls basketball team literally came back from the dead Tuesday to beat host Zion-Benton 43-40 in overtime in a key North Suburban Conference Lake Division game.
After the horn sounded to end the fourth quarter, the Devils were walking off the court two-point losers when a technical foul was called on Z-B assistant coach Frank Mattucci for arguing a call that originally was made when there 8.5 seconds left in the game.
Warren’s Alexis Leneau made the two technical free throws after the clock showed 0:00 to force overtime, and the Blue Devils went on to post the most unlikely of victories.
“I”ve been coaching for 30 years and I’ve never seen a game end like that,” said Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz.
The play that infuriated Mattucci was a bizarre free-throw violation against Zion’s Sam Rodriguez after she hit the first of two free throws to give Z-B (8-3 overall, 3-2 in the division) a 39-37 lead.
The ref handed Rodriguez the ball for the second shot, while Zion coaches called out for a timeout. Rodriguez thought the timeout was given and walked over the free-throw line to flip the ball to the ref under the basket and head to the bench.
The refs, who hadn’t granted the timeout, called an over-the-line, free-throw violation and gave Warren the ball.
That call still looked to be irrelevant when Rodriguez stole a pass and dribbled out the clock.
That’s when chaos ensued.
Mattucci went immediately to the ref and the resulting “discussion” led to him getting T’d up.
Leneau hit twice to tie it, and Warren won it on two free throws by Jessica Prince, one free throw by Kristen O’Brien and one free throw by Alyssa Phillips — the last with 2.2 seconds left.
“We wanted a timeout (at the end of the fourth quarter) to set up the defense,” said Mattucci. “It’s simple basketball.
“He (the ref) doesn’t give us the timeout, and then they take the free throw away from Sam.
“Then, our kids still defended Warren, Sam steals the ball and we win 39-37. I’m livid for our kids. They didn’t play a great game but they played well enough to beat a good team.
“If you have a beef with me, punish me. Don’t punish the kids. I can take it.”
For the game, Rodriguez had a game-high 20 points. Octavia Crump fouled out in OT with 12 points, 12 rebounds and nine steals.
For Warren (5-4 overall, 3-1 in the division), Prince had 15 points and 14 boards, and Leneau had 13 points and seven steals.
“I was just praying that Lexi would hit those free throws to get us to overtime,” said Prince. “Thankfully, we got a second chance to win the game.”