Lincoln-Way North's Kayla Kieklak (center) puts a shot up between Homewood-Flossmoor's Adebisi Mabodu (left) and Sydni Johnson (right) during their basketball game in Frankfort Square Thursday, November 29, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Ashley Weringa and Kayla Kieklak did it all for Lincoln-Way North during a frantic fourth quarter Thursday night against Homewood-Flossmoor.
Weringa scored nine of her game-high 20 points in the final period while Kieklak was 8-of-10 from the free-throw line, accounting for all of North’s 17 fourth-quarter points in a 44-42 home victory.
“I wanted to step up for my team,’’ Weringa said. “I shoot when I’m open. I used to never do that. This year I’m actually trying to do that. I’m looking for my shot more.’’
“It was a very physical game, especially toward the end,’’ North coach Jim Nair said. “We fought through some mental lapses, and in the end we kept our composure. It by far was not our best game, but we were able to fight through it and Ashley was a big part of that.’’
Weringa hit her fourth three-pointer of the game to give North (4-1) a 35-28 lead with 3 minutes, 18 seconds to play. H-F turned up the pressure and fought back to tie it at 37 on a trey by Jaiveonna Norris with 1:40 left.
“The fourth quarter got pretty physical,’’ Weringa said. “Everyone started going 100 percent.’’
Two free throws by Weringa put North ahead for good at 39-37 with 1:10 left. Kieklak (12 points) made two free throws for a 41-37 lead and two more to make it 43-39 with 21 seconds to play.
“Without Kayla there, we wouldn’t have pulled it through in the fourth quarter,’’ Weringa said. “She hit some huge free throws for us. She was a main reason we won.’’
“Kayla showed great poise at the free-throw line,’’ Nair said. “For a sophomore to step up like that, you like to see that.’’
Sydni Johnson led H-F (5-3) with 14 points, highlighted by a three-pointer to make it 43-42 in the final seconds before a Kieklak free throw ended the scoring with three seconds left.
“I’m proud of the girls for their ability to come back,’’ H-F coach Dana Noble said. “We hadn’t been in too many situations like that yet this year. We did some good things, but at some point we’ve got to put the ball in the basket.’’