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Metea Valley's Bria Walker drives through the South Elgin defense Thursday in Aurora. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
From halftime on, Metea Valley had its share of peaks and valleys offensively, but the Mustangs stayed the course to hold off South Elgin’s upset hopes in a 66-57 Upstate Eight Valley contest Thursday.
“If we could just get rid of the lulls on offense, it would be a lot easier, but we’re always happy to leave the court with a win,” Metea coach Kris Kalivas said. “We’ve got two conference games left and hopefully we can finish those with two wins to secure second and build momentum for the post-season.”
The Mustangs (18-4, 8-2 UEC Valley) won their third straight thanks to four double-figure scorers in Lori Obendorf (18), Nia Flowers (17), Bria Walker (14) and Jenny Voytell (10). Kennede Miller paced South Elgin (12-10, 3-6) with 19 points.
“We were down five at half at the half despite a stagnant offense; 37 points in the second half was obviously an improvement, but if you give up 66, it’s hard to win,” coach Tim Prendergast said.
After the opening quarter ended in a 14-all deadlock, the contest was still tied at 18 when Obendorf sandwiched a pair of field goals around one of two free throws to help Metea gain its 25-20 halftime lead. The 6-2 senior hit a turnaround jumper to start the third quarter and Flowers followed up with a long-range three-point bomb for a double-digit lead. From that point on the Mustangs kept finding answers for every Storm comeback effort, or else South Elgin failed to capitalize either at the line or off turnovers.
“We had a few defensive breakdowns that they took advantage of. I think we had a series of ups and downs, sometimes we did a great job versus their press and sometimes we didn’t,” Kalivas said.
“We definitely struggled at the start,” said Flowers. “We panicked a little, but knew we had to regroup, be patient, and finish out the game.”
South Elgin had the last two buckets of the third quarter to make it a 49-41 contest only to have Metea stretch its lead to 14 (55-41) with 6:14 remaining. The Storm got to within five (57-52) but Obendorf hit a turnaround before fouling out. Flowers drove the lane and Walker sank three of four at the line to close the win.