Girls Basketball: Lincoln-Way East survives Sandburg’s rallySandburg's Kristen Bailey (left) defends Lincoln-Way East's Caitilin McMahon as she puts up a shot during their basketball game in Orland Park Thursday, January 5, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 5, 2012 8:46PM
Lincoln-Way East hasn’t faced a lot of challenges during its school-record-setting start to the 2011-12 season.
Senior Taylor Johnson welcomed the change of pace Thursday as the Griffins survived a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback by Sandburg to prevail 43-37 in a SouthWest Suburban Blue thriller.
“It really tests you as a team,” Johnson said. “I’m glad we came through in the end. I’m going to say that they (Sandburg) are an all-around good team.”
Johnson finished with 16 points, including all six East managed in the fourth quarter. Caitlin McMahon added nine points and five rebounds and Amy Jacobsen six points for the Griffins (12-0, 4-0).
Sandburg (9-8, 2-3) was led by Kristen Bailey (10 points, 7 rebounds), Ashley Youngwirth (9 points) and Carly Katalinic (9 points).
The Eagles, trailing by as many as 14 points and still in arrears 37-27 after three quarters, hit East with a 9-1 salvo to start the fourth. Youngwirth hit a three-pointer and two free throws, Bailey a pair of charity tosses and Jen Pache a turnaround jumper with 3:52 remaining to make it a 38-36 proposition.
After a Griffins miss, Katalinic grabbed a rebound and was about to dribble away when she was interrupted by an East defender.
“I didn’t see her come from behind me and I felt her hit me,” Katalinic said. “Then the ball got out of my grasp.”
East’s Marissa DeGroot shuffled the ball to Johnson, who went in for a layup to make it 40-36. Johnson added three more free throws in the final 40 seconds to ice it for the Griffins.
“It’s always tough because of course they’re going to hack you, try to foul you,” Johnson said. “But yeah, I always want the ball to be in my hands, because I know my teammates trust me enough to make the play when it’s needed.”