Girls Basketball: West Aurora loses lead, holds on for winNaperville North's Britney Weizeorick fights for a rebound with West Aurora's Abriya Zeitz on Saturday, Jan. 07, 2012. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2012 11:13PM
West Aurora didn’t attack in the second half. Naperville North’s Zoe Smith and Shannon Bushman did.
Bushman and Smith led a furious second-half comeback by the Huskies as they climbed all the way back from a 17-point halftime deficit only to drop a 67-61 double overtime contest during DVC play in Aurora.
“We knew that Bushman and Swift could take over the game,” West Aurora coach Connie Siljendahl said. “We contained them in the first half but in the second half they got away from us and we weren’t playing tough enough defense.”
Bushman scored 29 of her game-high 31 points in the second half, including eight straight points to turn a 46-40 deficit into the team’s first lead at 48-46.
“We just came out way too soft in the first half,” Bushman said. “We finally got the push we needed in the second and got things going.”
West Aurora (8-8, 1-4) tied the game at 48-all with 1:45 left in regulation on a long two-pointer from Alexis Nelson (20 points). Nelson also kept the Blackhawks alive in overtime on her driving lay-up with 20 seconds left that knotted things at 54-54.
Nelson’s basket seemed to ignite the Blackhawks in the second overtime as their offense kicked back in gear. After scoring 37 points in the first half, the Blackhawks were limited to just 11 points in the second half.
“We just weren’t attacking and our game plan is to attack,” Siljendahl said. “They just stopped doing it, but give Naperville North (10-6, 2-3) credit because they played very good defensively.”
Stopping a team defensively was just one part of the game though for the Huskies. They also had a find a way to rally.
“I think the crowd really rattled us at the start and then we were on our heels,” Naperville North coach Jacquie Discipio said. “We tried every single defense we had and nothing looked good, but I think it wasn’t Xs and Os, but all mental. Finally, after a nice halftime chat, we played aggressive, hard-nosed man and it helped our transition offense.”
West Aurora returned to attack mode in the second overtime as the Blackhawks went hard toward the basket and distributed the ball twice to Abriya Zeitz (10 points) to go ahead 58-54. Shortly thereafter, they worked the ball down low to Liz Skaggs (14 points) and pulled ahead 65-57 with only 1:39 left.
Naperville North’s high hopes for a miraculous come-from-behind victory were now just about over.
“It’s so emotionally draining, but I’m so proud of the girls,” Discipio said. “It’s going to haunt me because we had so many missed opportunities and didn’t execute a few times in overtime, but they worked so hard to just get back in the game.”
Bushman claimed she’d battled from about a 12-point deficit before, but never 17 points.
“That’s a lot of points to be down,” she said. “It kind of sucks to lose after coming back like we did, but I’m proud we were able to do it.”
On the flip side, Siljendahl and the Blackhawks were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief and they are no longer winless in the DVC.
“I just told them they needed to get back in there and attack and make sure to get good shots,” she said. “We started the game doing it and then we didn’t do it in the second half until the (second) overtime.”
Alexis Wiggins added 13 points and Dazmine Chaney contributed nine points in the winning effort.