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There is never any quit in Regan Carmichael.
The Maine South guard demonstrated that Saturday night, overcoming a rough start to score a career-high 27 points to lead the Hawks to a stunning 54-43 overtime victory over Naperville Central in the championship game of the 30th annual Dundee-Crown Charger Classic.
Carmichael made just three of her first 10 shots and Naperville Central appeared to be in firm control with a 38-27 lead after Shannon Ryan scored with 5:39 left in the fourth quarter.
Then Carmichael suddenly got hot. She scored 15 points after that point, including nine late in the fourth quarter as Maine South (16-2) exploded for a 26-3 run.
“She’s grown up so much as a basketball player, but also as a person; and her development and growth allowed that to happen,” Maine South coach Mark Smith said.
Naperville Central (16-2) led 40-36 when Carmichael grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup with 1:29 left. After the Redhawks missed a free throw, center Jacqui Grant sank a jumper from the foul line to tie the game at 40 with 41 seconds remaining.
The Redhawks then played for the last shot, but Ryan’s 10-foot runner in the lane rimmed out with :03 to go.
Carmichael then missed a half-court shot at the buzzer, but scored six points in overtime, including four straight at the foul line as the Hawks outscored the Redhawks 14-3 in the extra session after winning the fourth quarter 15-4. She made four of her last five shots and 6 of her last 10, including two three-pointers..
“It’s something that the coaches preach and my teammates preach is, ‘don’t stop shooting, you’ve got to keep your head up,’ and my team was really encouraging,” the Saint Louis-bound Carmichael said. “They encouraged me to keep shooting and [the shots] fell.”
The comeback didn’t surprise Carmichael, who had confidence in her team all along.
“It was just a really hard-fought game,” Carmichael said. “I think it shows the character of our team. We were down by as much as 11 and we never quit. But Naperville Central is a great team. They’ll go far.”
Indeed, the Redhawks were clearly the superior squad for the first 28 minutes. The last eight, however, were a different story.
“Those last four minutes of regulation are very disappointing,” Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum said. “We had the game in our hands and didn’t close. We were playing great and I thought we had the game won. But we did say with four minutes left there’s still a long way to go.”
Grant finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Maine South, which had only three players score in regulation. Hailey Schoneman added eight points and six rebounds and reserve guard Claire Raphael scored five points, all in overtime.
Jamie Cuny scored 13 points to lead Naperville Central, while Ryan scored 11, as did center Victoria Trowbridge, who also had 11 rebounds.