Girls Basketball: Oak Forest duo powers past LemontOak Forest # 44 Courtney Kachlik and Oak Forest # 10 Kelly McEathron guard Lemont #21 Courtney Toth in first half action of their 3A regional game played at Evergreen Park HS at 99th and Kedzie, Evergreen Park, IL on Monday night 2/13/12.}Judy Fidkowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 13, 2012 10:00PM
Oak Forest may have held a six-point halftime advantage in Monday’s game, but the Bengals were far from pleased with their first half performance.
Coming out for the third quarter, Emily Naegele and Katie Swanson made sure the first half performance was not repeated.
Combining for all 16 of Oak Forest’s third quarter points, the senior duo led the Bengals to a 41-31 win over Lemont in a Class 3A Evergreen Park regional semifinal.
“I think (early) it was the jitters,” Naegele said. “You realize it could be your last game as seniors. We just had to play through it.”
Swanson (16 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals) and Naegele (12 points, 7 rebounds) led Oak Forest (17-10). Kelsey Motto had 16 points for Lemont (8-20).
Naegele wasted little time establishing a presence in the lane out of the halftime break, spinning hard to the basket on Oak Forest’s first possession. The bucket jump-started the offense as Swanson scored on a hard drive next time down with Naegele following with a three-pointer.
“Our goal was to get it in the post,” Naegele said. “I really didn’t play the best first half, and I heard about it. I just tried to do better.”
The seniors had eight points apiece in the third as Oak Forest went up by as many as 13. The Bengals shot 6-of-8 from the field and hit 3-of-4 three-pointers in the quarter.
Lemont cut it to six points with 1:08 to go in the fourth, but Naegele and Swanson hit two free throws each in the final minute to ice the game.
“We ran out of gas a little,” Lemont coach Bill Bozue said. “It was a good effort though, and we started to execute some.”
Oak Forest will play Rich South Thursday for the regional title, the two teams having split the previous two season meetings.
Rich South 55, Evergreen Park 42: Blowing an 18-point lead and overcoming an eight-minute scoreless drought, Rich South (22-4) survived the semifinal. CiErra Garrett (18 points) and Kiela Garner (11) led the Lady Stars. Evergreen Park (6-20) held a 35-34 lead through three. Megan Beckow’s 18 points paced the Mustangs.