Girls Basketball: Aurora Central takes down Plano
Updated: February 9, 2012 10:00PM
Going into last season, winning a regional championship was something that eluded Aurora Central’s girls basketball team the entire 35 years of the program’s existence.
After Thursday’s 46-36 win in the Class 2A Plano Regional title game over the host Reapers, however, the Chargers now have a bona-fide streak on their hands.
It was the second consecutive regional title for ACC, which moves on to play in the Class 2A Chicago Christian Sectional semifinals Tuesday.
“We’re very pleased,” ACC coach Mark Fitzgerald said. “This is a very big accomplishment for our school to win two in a row like this, and I’m very proud of all of these kids. We have work to do if we want to have success at that next level, but I’m going to enjoy tonight and we’ll worry about that over the weekend.”
The Chargers (22-6) had a hard time containing Plano sophomore center Clarissa Martinez all night. She finished with a game-high 17 points and 18 rebounds, and her lay-up early in the fourth quarter cut the ACC lead to 31-30, putting the Reapers in position for a comeback win just like the one they pulled off Wednesday against Aurora Christian.
“We had a very difficult time containing Martinez,” Fitzgerald said. “She played a great game.”
ACC’s veteran team did not allow Plano to get any closer, however. A 15-4 run that featured six points each from seniors Tesa Alderman and Jackie Cardona allowed the Chargers to stretch the lead to 12 in the final minute.
“We were right there,” Plano coach Mario Serra said. “We just ran out of gas. The kids gave everything they had. We lost to a good team. It’s different when you lose to a team that you don’t feel is that good. But this is a team that can go win more games. I would expect that they would. It’s frustrating when you get that close, but that’s the way it goes.”
Plano (16-15) led most of the first half and only trailed by one going into the fourth quarter as the Chargers struggled to get going offensively. Cardona, ACC’s leading scorer, finished with 10 points, but she only attempted three shots from the field in the first half. In her stead, Ashley Wilk scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the first three quarters to keep ACC afloat.
“You have to do what you have to do,” Wilk said. “I was ready to step up when we needed it. It’s really special. Me, Kaitlyn (Rosa) and Jackie have been together for three years here and this is our second title, so this is a big deal. But we want more.”