Playing four games in a three-day span, the Yorkville girls basketball team rose to the challenge, sweeping the Ottawa Christmas Classic to win its first tournament title there in its seven-year history.
The Foxes (13-1) picked up pool play wins over LaSalle-Peru and Newark before earning a 65-51 victory over Lincoln-Way West in the semifinal game on Dec. 23. A few hours later, Yorkville returned to the court against the host Pirates and clinched a 42-37 win in the title game.
"It was a phenomenal tournament for us. The best part is that I don't think we played our best basketball, yet we still managed to win," Yorkville coach Kim Wentsis said.
Katie Nolan was named the tournament MVP, while Audrey Macciomei and Lindsay Harrison also joined Nolan on the All-Tournament list.
"Katie was the tournament MVP and it was very well deserving," Wentsis said. "She does so much for us; she's just unstoppable."
Against Ottawa, Yorkville jumped out to a 24-17 halftime lead and maintained control in the second half. Lauren Daffenberg and Nolan had a team-high nine points and Lindsay Harrison chipped in with eight.
Yorkville faced an undefeated but short-handed Lincoln-Way West team with an injured point guard, but the Foxes fell behind 11-7 after one quarter of play and still trailed 28-16 at halftime.
The Foxes regrouped at intermission and cut their deficit to six points at the end of the the third quarter thanks to a 23-point third quarter. Yorkville poured in another 26 points in the fourth period for the comeback win. Nolan finished with 22 points while Harrison knocked in 20 points.
"We went into a full court press and something clicked," Wentsis said. "They turned it up a notch and we started forcing turnovers. Going into the fourth quarter, we were down by six and I told them we needed to keep them to six points. Our kids just took over, and Katie Nolan and Lindsay Harrison had great games in the second half."
Newark 51, Pontiac 44: The Norsemen (12-5) closed the Ottawa Christmas Classic with a 2-2 record, finishing with a 51-44 win over Pontiac. Riane Tomsa had 15 points and nine rebounds while Meggie Scott also had 15 points and six assists.
"It was a good win for us and I was pleased with the way our girls competed after playing three games in less than 24 hours," Newark coach Barb Scott said.