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44 | January 25, 2018 | The Mokena Messenger sports Girls Basketball Warriors get revenge after Thanksgiving tourney title loss to Knights Steve Millar Freelance Reporter Lincoln-Way West’s girls basketball players have not forgotten what happened the first time the Warriors played crosstown rival Lincoln-Way Central this season. In the championship game of the Lincoln-Way Central Thanksgiving Tournament Nov. 21, the Knights jumped out to an 18-0 lead and beat the Warriors 63-57. When the teams met again Jan. 16, West’s primary mission was an obvious one. “We had to get off to a better start than last time,” junior guard Tara Hastings said. Hastings made sure the Warriors got off on the right foot this time, scoring 10 of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter as West topped the host Knights 58- 37 in a SouthWest Suburban Red game. “We had a chance to redeem ourselves for a loss, which was big,” West coach Ryan White said. “We’re battling for a conference title. We still control our own destiny, and we wanted to leave here still controlling our own destiny and not needing any help. So, this was a big win.” Taylor Gugliuzza finished with 16 points and eight rebounds for the Warriors (20-3, 5-1), and Tara Gugliuzza scored 10 points. Abi Baumgartner led Central (10-12, 3-3) with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Natalie Spudic contributed eight points and eight rebounds. The game was tied 5-5 midway through the first quarter before Hastings hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors the lead for good. The Knight’s Abi Baumgartner goes up for a shot against the Warrior’s Taylor Gugliuzza Jan. 16 during an intradistrict matchup against Lincoln-Way Central. Photos by Julie McMann/22nd Century Media “It was really big,” Hastings said. “I was able to hit some shots and get the team going.” West led 14-10 after a quarter, a sharp contrast to the 24-6 deficit it faced after one in the teams’ last meeting. “We wanted to make sure we came out strong right away,” White said. “It was huge for us to get off to a good start.” Taylor Gugliuzza had a big second quarter, scoring eight points, to help the Warriors open up a 32-21 halftime lead. “In the beginning of the game, I was passing up shots and not being as aggressive as I should have been,” Taylor Gugliuzza said. “Tara handled everything in the beginning, though, so that was great.” West scored the first 10 points of the second half to put the game away, extending the lead to 42-21. The Knights did not score in the first 4:50 of the third quarter. “We did a good job defensively in the first half,” Central coach Dave Campanile said. “We were able to contain some of their guards a bit and keep it pretty close. “Then the third quarter really hurt us. We were already kind of cold offensively, and we went colder than cold. I told the girls we were mostly getting good looks. You just have to believe and knock those shots down.” The Knights finished just 5-for-34 in 3-point shooting. “We have the size advantage, but West does a great job with their zone, so if you don’t shoot well, it’s going to be a long night,” Campanile said. “I think maybe West looked back at that game in November and thought it didn’t go the way it should have. We knew they’d give us their best shot.” Molly Ryan added five points and five rebounds for the Warriors. Ryan cracked the starting lineup with guard Sydney Swanberg out after suffering an injury early in the teams’ previous game against Andrew. “Sydney’s tough to replace,” White said. “She’s capable of scoring 20 any night, and she rebounds for us. Everyone’s picking up the slack, though. We’re scoring like we normally were. “Molly gives us a little more size. There’s been no drop-off. Everyone’s picked each other up, which has been great to see.” It was the eighth straight win for the Warriors. “All of us work together as a team really well,” Taylor Gugliuzza said. “Since Central’s Lindsey Harvey takes a 3-point shot as West’s Tara Gugliuzza tries to contest it. we don’t have many post players, other than Molly, that makes it tough, but we all work off each other.” Haley Ragland and Haley Stoklosa scored four points each for the Knights. The game capped a very busy 72 hours for Central, which played two games Jan. 13 and two more Jan. 15 in DeKalb’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Invitational. “I think we need a bit of a mental break,” Campanile said. “We had a couple long days up in DeKalb and a quick turnaround for this game. It was hard just to get them excited and ready for another game.” Campanile said he hopes his team can hit its stride soon. “We’ve got some adversity with a couple injuries and we’re struggling a bit,” he said. “We battled some tough teams early in the season, played a really difficult schedule, and the idea was that it’d pay off in the end. “We just need to keep working hard, hopefully have some gas in the tank for the end of the year and finish strong.”