The Oswego girls basketball team learned a thing or two after a 48-38 loss to West Chicago in the WarHawk Invite in November: The game isn't over until the final buzzer.
The teams met again on the hardwood for Thursday's Oswego East Holiday Classic consolation semifinal game and West Chicago held a slim 39-38 lead over Oswego (5-7) with 3.3 seconds remaining.
"We played West Chicago at Thanksgiving and it was just the opposite. We were winning the whole game until the last few minutes on a couple of 3-pointers," Beebe said.
Megan Rasmussen passed the ball inbounds at center court to freshman teammate Angelina Schlinger, who launched a desperation shot from beyond the half court line. Although the shot attempt never had a chance, there was a whistle.
A West Chicago player made contact with Schlinger, who made her first two of three at the foul line to hand the Panthers a 40-39 victory.
"We drew up our half-court setup to try and get double screens for Kira [Sneed] or get the ball to Gil [O'Neil]," Beebe said. "I just told her to shoot, and she got the foul. For a freshman to step to the line with no time left and make two – it was great."
Oswego held a narrow 10-9 lead after one quarter of play behind a six-point effort from Katie Beebe. The Panthers' lead swelled to 17-11 with 2:54 to go in the first half after a pair of buckets from Kacie Moran and a 3-pointer by Lauren Gotchie, but West Chicago went on a 13-0 run and led 26-22 at halftime.
The Wildcats continued to maintain control of the game through the third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 11-7, but the fourth quarter was a different story. The Oswego defense held West Chicago to just two points in the final period.
Kira Sneed (11 points) opened the period with a bucket, Schlinger knocked down a 3-pointer and followed with a jumper to cut Oswego's deficit, 39-36. Schlinger added another basket with 30 seconds to play to create a 39-38 score and take the game down to the wire.
"I thought we played good defense. We only gave up two points and picked up our defensive intensity," Beebe said. "Their main player [Sofia Radice, 14 points] is a good player, but we shut her down. That's all I ask the kids to do; play good defense."
Oswego 47, East Aurora 44: On Dec. 28, Oswego responded from a tournament-opening loss to Downers Grove South with a victory over the Tomcats in consolation play. The Panthers led 12-4 early, but East Aurora had a big second quarter to cut its deficit at halftime, 24-22 before taking the lead in the third quarter.
Oswego went to the free-throw line 11 times in the fourth quarter and made nine. The Panthers outscored East Aurora 14-9 down the stretch for the win. Sneed led all scorers with 18 points.