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Girls basketball: MaKayli Vann, Reapers take Rosary to OT in regional loss

Plano star has 26 points, 21 rebounds in playoff thriller

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 12:35 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 12:41 a.m. CDT

MaKayli Vann's knack for playoff magic is well-known.

She hit the game-winning 3-pointer in a sectional final for Indian Creek last year. It was but one of Vann's many big moments on the way to third place in Class 1A.

Even in defeat, Vann and Plano were memorable Wednesday.

She scored 26 points and 21 rebounds, 17 of her points coming after halftime. Sixth-seeded Plano took fourth-seeded Rosary to overtime before succumbing 60-54 in a Class 3A IMSA Regional semifinal thriller.

"MaKayli is just a special athlete," Plano coach John Chernick said. "She's one of those girls that won't go down without leaving everything on the floor. If we were going to down tonight, our girls were going to go down fighting."

Vann put Plano (19-9) in position to win with a spectacular shot late in regulation.

She faked a 3-pointer, took two dribbles and sank a contested 15-foot jumper from the right wing off one foot for a 49-47 lead with 1:41 left.

"That was an amazing shot for anybody," Chernick said. "We could sit here for an hour and not make that shot."

It was Plano's last points of regulation, though.

In overtime the Reapers took their last lead, 51-50, on Demetra Phylactos' free throws with three minutes left. Rosary's Mary Kate Bakala hit two free throws to regain the lead. Traiing 55-51, Vann hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to one, but Plano missed four shots - three of them layups - for the tie in the final minute.

"I have to say, I'm proud with what we did here," Vann said. "I have no regrets, other than I wish we would have won."

Rosary (13-14), which advanced to Friday's regional final against Kaneland, has had been Plano's nemesis in recent years.

The Royals have eliminated the Reapers from the playoffs the last three years, the previous two times by double digits. Rosary routed Plano 64-37 just nine days prior to this regional game.

The rematch bore no resemblance.

Plano led 11-9 after a quarter, 22-17 at halftime and by as much as 26-19 early in the third quarter after a Vann 3-pointer.

Lauren Smith led Rosary with 24 points, fouling out with three minutes left in overtime.

"My hats off to Plano," Rosary coach Phil VanBogaert said. "They deserved to win this game as much as we did. At times they probably deserved it more."

MaKenzie Vann, who was sick for the first game with Rosary, had eight points and seven rebounds. Hannah Hupe, one of seven Plano seniors, added six points.

The Reapers led throughout most of the first three quarters, but it seemed to slip away with a Rosary 17-2 run. Smith's jumper got the Royals ahead 36-28, but Plano charged back to tie it 38-38 on Raven Russell's steal and score with 5:57 left.

"The girls just seemed to be in the right place at the right time when we needed it," Chernick said. "We made every play when we needed and answered every run except the last."

It was a game, and a season, to remember.

The Reapers had just one starter, senior Bradi Gann, returning from an 11-win team. Expectations heightened when the Vann sisters transferred from Indian Creek in August.

They were realized, too, Plano winning its first-ever conference championship.

"I'm very satisfield with the season," Vann said. "Coming in here, not knowing what to expect, how we were going to fit in. It turned out well."

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