The crosstown rivals had played two competitive games prior to their matchup on Tuesday. However, Oswego was out for blood last night, as it avenged its loss from a week ago with a 53-28 win over Oswego East and advanced to the regional championship.
This game had all the buildup and hype that could be wanted from a crosstown match, with the extra emotion of a regional semifinal behind it.
The game started out slow, yet intense. The first half of the first quarter was scoreless, but was full of high intensity and uptempo play. Each team ran the floor exceptionally, but neither squad could finish any of the looks they got at the rim.
The floodgates finally opened with 3:55 left in the first quarter, when senior Julia Henrikson nailed a three, and senior Jenelle Rogers went coast to coast off an Oswego East turnover and took contact at the rim for an and-one ten seconds later.
The Panthers would not look back, as they continued to build their lead up to 11, as they took a 15-4 lead into the second quarter.
Oswego’s shooters would catch fire from then on, knocking down just about every open shot they had a look at for the rest of the contest.
“We played a really complete game tonight,” Oswego Head Coach John Carlson said. “When we make baskets, our defense gets a little stronger too.”
The Panther defense remained stout, allowing just 12 points in the first half on only 4 Wolves field goals.
“The defense was great,” Carlson said.
The Panthers got a big boost off their bench in the first half, as senior Danielle Dorillio notched 10 points in the first half and finished the game with 12.
“Coming off the bench I just want to do as much as possible,” Dorillio said. “I try to do all I can on the court.”
Oswego led 34-12 at the halftime buzzer.
The second half was more of the same, as Oswego sustained their lead thanks to team play and three-pointers.
Oswego nailed seven three-pointers in the game and collected 18 assists as a team.
Henrickson dished out six of those assists, also collecting 10 points and three rebounds.
“I usually try to dish it into Jenelle as much as possible,” Henrickson said. “But I feel like my passes across the court to Mia , Ang and Danielle were there tonight, and them getting their points right after definitely helped.”
The Panthers closed out the game by allowing some bench players to play out the last half of the fourth quarter and they would go on to win 53-28.
Other notable stat lines from the game include senior Angelina Schlinger who scored five points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out a team-high eight assists. Dorillio led the Panthers in scoring with a stat line of 12-1-1. Jenelle had seven points and four rebounds, and her sister, senior Jennah Rogers, had eight points, four rebounds, and two assists.
With the win, the Panthers punched their ticket to their second straight regional final, and they couldn’t be more ready.
“We’re excited,” Dorillio said. “We’re hoping to cut down the net.”
They take on Neuqua Valley who held off a Naperville Central comeback last night to hold on to upset the Redhawks. The regional championship will be Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. at Oswego High School.