LOCKPORT – Yorkville coach Kim Wensits has waited for this version of Lexi Meyer all season.
So what came out in her?
"I don't even know – the beast, I guess," said Meyer, Yorkville's 5-foot-8 junior, with a wide smile. "It was a great game, a lot of fun."
Meyer gave away seven inches Monday to Lockport's tallest player. But she played like a giant.
She hustled for rebounds. She took charges. She did whatever she could to keep the Foxes in the game.
And then, in overtime, she had to watch and wait after fouling out.
"For sure, it was tough – but I had so much confidence in my team," Meyer said.
It was rewarded. Olivia Ross hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 55 seconds left in double overtime, and 17th-seeded Yorkville could exhale after Lockport back-rimmed a 3-pointer as time expired in the Foxes' dramatic 48-46 win in the Class 4A Lockport Regional first-round game.
The Foxes (11-20) advance to face top-seeded Minooka in Wednesday's 6 p.m. regional semifinal – and they can thank their junior forward.
Meyer had 12 rebounds to go along with three points, three steals and a block. She helped undersized Yorkville, whose tallest girl is 5-9, hang in there against a Lockport team with three 6-footers.
"She stepped up to a whole new level tonight," Wensits said. "She's had it in her all year, and the fact that it is coming out now, better late than never. Now is the time to do it. She got after it, and embraced the challenge."
Eight of Meyer's rebounds came at the offensive end. On one possession in the fourth quarter, Meyer twice out-hustled taller girls to chase down second chances. On another, she ripped a loose ball away from 6-foot-3 Jenna Cotter. A third possession, Meyer dove to the floor for a loose ball, to force a tie-up.
"She and [5-9] Lexi Sandon, that's all we have. We don't have any 6-3 kids that are going to magically come out of the woodwork," Wensits said. "She did a great job of being physical with those 6-footers."
Meyer understood the challenge in front of her.
She seemed ready to play early, drawing a charge in the game's first minutes.
"She [Cotter] was like a good seven inches taller, so I had to play my most physical game. I knew it wasn't going to be easy," Meyer said, "but at times like this you have to step. It was a great opportunity."
Lily Guerra scored 15 points, Ross 10, Kenzie Senffner nine and Claudia Grunwald eight for Yorkville, which rallied from a seven-point third-quarter deficit. Elena Knebel, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, led Lockport with 14 points.
Grunwald's 3-pointer, from the left corner with 49 seconds left in regulation, tied it 31-31 to force overtime. Ross' driving layup with 1:59 left in the first overtime pushed the Foxes ahead 36-34, but after Yorkville missed the front end of a one-and-one Lockport's Sydney Furr stuck back a third-chance score in the final seconds, sending the game to a second extra session.
With Yorkville trailing by one in the second overtime, and the clock ticking under a minute, Ross had an open look from the elbow.
She passed it up, though, dribbled to the 3-point line – and buried the go-ahead shot to make it 46-44.
"I caught the ball, i realized that I was open and then I thought it was too late," Ross said, explaining her decision. "I dribbled out, realized still nobody was guarding me so I shot the three hoping for the best."
It was the best.
It was not an easy slog for the Foxes at times. They shot just 6-for-24 in the first half, trailing 20-18 at halftime, then went without a made field goal for almost seven minutes in the third quarter. Neither team, in fact, managed much offense for much of the second half.
The end result was a thing of beauty.
"We let them have so many chances in the overtime it seemed," Wensits said. "But great job of our kids fighting through and persevering and being resilient."
"It feels amazing, for our seniors to have another chance," said Ross, a junior. "I bet that win felt good for them."