Cougars 17-0 fourth quarter-run buries Plainfield Central
Short-handed Lady Raiders roll past Metea Valley
Last updated 2/20/2020 at 4:38pm
On Wednesday night in Aurora in an IHSA Class 4A Metea Valley Regional opener, Plainfield Central led their District 202 rivals Plainfield South 32-29 at the end of the third quarter.
On Dec. 6 at Plainfield Central (12-21), the Wildcats defeated South 61-53. On Feb. 7 at South (16-12), the Cougars romped past the Wildcats 50-32.
In the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, the Cougar defense turned the Wildcats over nine times and go on a 17-0 run to lead 46-32 with two minutes left in game.
Cougar junior Aniaya Mabry (14 points, eight rebounds), along with juniors Leia James (12 points,three steals, two 3s) and Fatimah Olagunju (12 points, eight rebounds) scored all but two points in the game-winning run.
Mabry's free-throw and Olagunju's bucket tied the game at 32-32. Sophomore Grace Harris' lay-in gave the Cougars a 34-32 lead they would never relinquish.
Mabry's steal and score was followed by a three-point dagger from James for a 39-32 lead with 4:02 left.
Mabry nailed a pair of free throws and James scored to give South a 43-32 lead with 2:37 left.
Olagunju's old-fashioned three-point play finished off the 17-0 run in style for a 46-32 Cougar lead with 2:07 left.
"In the huddle in the fourth quarter we were confident that we could win the game," Mabry said. "We really turned up our energy level on defense to bury them. I believe we match-up well with Bolingbrook and look forward to playing them on Friday."
"I had to come out in the fourth quarter with a lot of energy," James said. "Someone had to step up and give us the spark we needed to win. My performance was OK tonight but I was happy that I was able to come through when my team needed me most."
"We have to trust in each other all over the court and work together," Olagunju said. "We feed off of each other's success and on Friday we have to go out and face the challenge and play well against Bolingbrook."
The Wildcats, behind six first-quarter points from freshman Aaliyah Frazier, grabbed a 13-11 lead after one quarter. With seconds remaining in the first half, Wildcat senior Kachae Donald (12 points, two 3's) buried a game-tying, 25-foot three-pointer to deadlock the game at 20-20.
In the third quarter, Wildcat 6-foot-2 senior Stacey Evans, scored four points and hauled down six, third-quarter rebounds, to give the 'Cats the 32-29. Evans, would just miss a double-double, with eight points and 14 rebounds.
The 2019-2020 season for Plainfield Central, was the season that never was.
With 2019 Enterprise Newspapers All-Area Selections, 6-foot-1 junior, Anna Griffin and Donald returning, expectations for a big year on Fort Beggs Drive, was expected.
Griffin, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds last season, for Plainfield Central coach, Armond Frazier, at the last minute, last summer, decided to transfer to Aurora Christian.
For the 28-4 Eagles of Aurora Christian,Griffin is averaging 17.9 points-per-game, 9.3 rebounds-per game, 2.9 assists-per-game and 3.9 steals per-game, for the Metro Suburban Blue Champions. The Eagles will play for the IHSA Class 1A Putnam County Sectional Championship, on Thursday night, against Gardner-South Wilmington (28-4).
Just before the start of the 2019-2020 season, last November, Donald goes down to an injury and the season that was, turned into the season that wasn't, for Frazier and the Wildcats.
Up next for Plainfield South, will be a date with the Associated Press' Class 4A No.10-ranked Lady Raiders of Bolingbrook (21-7), for the IHSA Class 4A Metea Valley Regional Championship, Friday at 7.
"All season long, our defense has really stepped up in the second half," Plainfield South coach Lincoln DePaula said. "We had an off-night shooting the ball but our defense really helped us pick up the big win tonight. We could see the air begin to come out of the Central girls in the fourth quarter.
"Friday we will play in our first regional championship game. It will be a new experience for us and we look forward to the challenge of playing a very good Bolingbrook team."
Bolingbrook 68 Metea Valley 46
With their LSU-bound senior Treasure Thompson and super-soph Kennedi Perkins on the inactive list, the Lady Raiders (21-7) took on the host Mustangs from Metea Valley (9-18).
Led by seniors Jayden Marable (17 points, four steals) and Danyel Middleton (16 points, eight rebounds, three steals), the Lady Raiders cruised to a 68-46 victory. Replacing Perkins, sophomore Miranda Fry played her best game of her young career, scoring 16 points and hauling down eight big rebounds for the 'Brook.
The Lady Raiders jumped out to a 20-9 lead, led by six first-quarter points from Marable, Middleton and junior Faith Domercant (10 points, six rebounds), after one quarter.
Marable, scored seven second quarter points and along with a half-dozen points from Fry, the Lady Raiders led 35-21 at the half.
"We had a pretty good victory but I still saw some things that we have to work on," Marable said. "Miranda really stepped up for us. I had a good game and I concentrated on getting my points in the paint. I was also happy to get all my teammates involved."
"We did a great job, performing as a team tonight," Fry said. "We really worked hard and had fun. I felt I played great and I was a team-player as well."
Middleton took over the third quarter, scoring eight points and leading the Raiders to a 54-35 lead after three quarters.
"I've been working real hard for this moment," Middleton said. "We feel we can go very far in the tournament. We really do not care who we play on Friday night, we just want to go out and play well."
Senior Kyla Matthews chipped in with six points.
Up next for the Lady Raiders is a match-up with Plainfield South (16-12) for the Metea Valley Regional championship Friday at 7 p.m.
"This was a real opportunity for our other girls, to step up tonight, with Treasure and Kennedi not in the lineup," Bolingbrook coach Chris Smith said. "I felt Faith Domercant did a great job controlling the middle for us in the first half. Miranda Fry has talent that you can't teach. She just goes out and hustles every minute she is on the floor.
"Treasure tweaked the knee in practice this week and we want to see tomorrow at practice if the swelling has gone down and will allow her to play Friday. Kennedi will be back in the lineup on Friday."
Downers Grove North 48 Oak Park 16
The Trojans (26-6) hammered their West Suburban Silver rivals from Oak Park (5-27) for the third time this season in their regional opener in Hinsdale. Up next for the Girls of Troy will be an IHSA Class 4A Hinsdale Central Regional championship game on Friday night with the host Red Devils (10-17).
The Trojans defeated the Red Devils 45-31 at Hinsdale Central on Dec. 3, while on Jan. 25, the Trojans smothered the Red Devils 34-14 at home.
>Jones 49 Downers Grove South 31
The Mustangs closed out the 2019-2020 season with regional-opening loss to the CPS Eagles (13-10). DGS bows out at 11-16.