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Oswego East's LaNisha Cruickshank passes over Oswego's Erin Sinnott at Oswego East High School in Oswego, Ill., on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
The 10 days leading into Tuesday’s showdown against crosstown rival Oswego in Southwest Prairie play were just what Oswego East girls basketball coach Abe Carretto was hoping for.
The team had been up-and-down in the early going this season, but in the past 10 days, the Wolves had an easy win against Plainfield Central and some much-needed practice time.
The Wolves saw the fruits of their labor Tuesday.
Oswego East took the lead for good late in the first quarter and cruised to a 49-30 win.
“We had some good practices over the past week because of where we were,” Carretto said. “We needed to step some things up. The girls were a little more intense in practice. The girls have to realize that even though we did well last year, it’s a whole new year. People are not concerned about us. Well, you better start playing like people need to be concerned with us if we’re going to continue on and get this winning streak going.”
Oswego (7-7 overall, 2-3) was down only 21-18 after sophomore Siarra O’Neill’s jumper to start the third quarter, but that was the closest the Panthers would get the rest of the night. Oswego East (5-6, 3-2) answered with an 8-0 run that saw the Wolves score all their points in the paint. That pushed the lead to 29-18 with 2:54 left in the third and set the tone for the rest of the game.
“I think going into the third quarter it really started to pick up,” said Oswego East guard Venita Parsons, who led a balanced attack with 10 points. “We were mentally ready for this game. We had a great week of practice and it showed.”
Oswego was coming off a tough week of games since its holiday tournament was last week, culminating in an overtime loss Saturday to Batavia in the third place game, and the Panthers never seemed to be in rhythm all night Tuesday.
A pair of O’Neill free throws in the first quarter gave the Panthers a 7-6 lead, which turned out to be their last lead of the game. O’Neill led all scorers with 11 points in the loss.
“Our girls have to learn that this season is a grind and you have to bring it every single night,” Oswego coach Chad Pohlmann said. “We’ve showed flashes at times of what we can become throughout the season. We’ll go back to the drawing board. They have to learn, but it has to be done together. We were really forcing a lot of stuff.”
Oswego travels to Willowbrook for a nonconference game Thursday before getting some time off into the New Year. Oswego East opens play at its own holiday tournament Saturday against Addison Trail.