WOODSTOCK – After Crystal Lake Central's Lindsey Douros buried a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation against Woodstock North to force overtime, Thunder senior Kaitlyn Ford felt sort of relieved, not bothered.
"When they made that 3, I was thinking, 'Second chance, it's 0-0. It's time to play basketball again,'" Ford said. "We're always a team that comes back in the second half. We never picture ourselves losing.
"We just stick together and pull through together."
Douros scored the opening basket in overtime, but Ford answered on the other end with her game-leading third 3 and the Thunder never trailed again. North held on to beat Central, 55-54, in their nonconference game on Monday night. The victory was North's 20th, a program record.
The Tigers (5-22), who trailed, 29-18, at halftime and took their first lead on a Nora Ryan 15-foot jumper with 6:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, had two attempts for the win in the closing moments.
Out of a timeout with 6.5 second remaining in overtime, Lily Penza's 3 from the right wing sailed long but was knocked out of bounds by North with 0.5 left. On the resulting inbounds play, Penza lobbed the ball to Olivia Arndt from the baseline, but Arndt couldn't get a clean look in the paint.
Central forced 15 turnovers in the third quarter to get back in the game.
"We didn't play well to start the game, and then we turned on the jets in the second half," Central coach Derek Crabill said. "That's a testament to the heart that our girls have. With the start we had tonight and this season it would have been easy to turn it off. But they got after it and they responded. I'm super proud of them."
North sophomore guard Lacey Schaffter scored nine of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. She knocked down all four of her free throws in the fourth quarter after North had struggled for much of the game, sinking 5 of 14 free throws through three quarters.
North coach Mike Lewis praised the 5-foot-3 Schaffter for her clutch play.
"We need her to get to the line," Lewis said. "She started a little slow, trying to get her footing as a sophomore in the starting lineup. Since about eight games in, she's a stud. I think she's the best point guard in our conference. She's pretty tough-minded for a little one."
Schaffter has slowed down at the line and has seen better results.
"I get a little nervous, but I just breathe and get out of my head," said Schaffter, who had a 3-pointer in overtime. "I rush sometimes but I've been taking my time more. They were bad at the beginning of the season. It just feels good to help the team."
Ford tied Schaffter for the team lead with 11 points. Sophomore Katelynn Ward recorded 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists, Abby Hartmann had seven points and eight rebounds, and Madison Czischki tossed in six points on two 3s.
Penza led the Tigers with 12 points and six rebounds, and Paige Keller had 11 points, five assists and eight rebounds, Douros (two 3s) and Hailey Geske (seven rebounds) added eight points apiece, and Ryan had seven points.
STAR OF THE GAME
Lacey Schaffter, Woodstock North, so., G
Schaffter came up big for the Thunder, scoring nine of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
20: The Thunder reached 20 wins for the first time in program history.
AND ANOTHER THING …
North’s 20 wins are three more than the past two seasons combined (17-39).
Woodstock North 55, Crystal Lake Central 54 (OT)
CRYSTAL LAKE CENTRAL (54)
Ryan 2 3-4 7, L. Fier 1 1-2 3, Keller 4 3-4 11, Penza 5 1-2 12, Douros 3 0-0 8, Brickey 1 1-2 3, J. Fier 1 0-0 2, Geske 2 4-5 8. Totals: 19 13-19 54.
WOODSTOCK NORTH (55)
Schaffter 2 6-8 11, Ford 4 0-0 11, Hartmann 2 2-6 7, Czischki 2 0-0 6, Ward 3 4-8 10, Morey 3 0-0 6, Goetz 2 0-0 4, Jones 0 0-2 0. Totals: 18 12-24 55.
Crystal Lake Central 7 11 16 13 7 – 54
Woodstock North 15 14 7 11 8 – 55
3-point goals: Crystal Lake Central 3 (Douros 2, Penza), Woodstock North 7 (Ford 3, Czischki 2, Schaffter, Hartmann). Total fouls: Crystal Lake Central 20, Woodstock North 12. Fouled out: Ryan (CLC).