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The Oswego Panthers celebrate a victory over crosstown rivals Oswego East on Friday, Feb. 01, 2013. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Oswego’s girls basketball team couldn’t buy a three-point basket in the first 30 minutes of Friday’s Southwest Prairie Conference showdown with crosstown rival Oswego East.
The Panthers missed their first 12 shots from behind the arc, helping to keep Oswego East in the game.
But with 1:57 left in the fourth quarter, the Panthers finally broke through. Sophomore Siarra O’Neill broke the ice with the team’s first three-pointer of the game, giving Oswego a 42-40 lead. The Panthers never trailed again, hanging on for a 49-44 win.
“That was the first thing I said in the locker room,” Oswego coach Chad Pohlmann said. “Siarra, you stayed with it and kept your confidence up, didn’t get down on yourself. We ran a little play and Jordan (Campbell) got a good screen for her to free her up and she nailed it and that kind of finished it off. That was good stuff.”
O’Neill’s three-pointer may have been the highlight play, but junior Kelsey Nelson scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter to help keep Oswego (12-10 overall, 7-6 SPC) afloat. She scored all 12 of her points in the second half, tying with Campbell for the team lead in scoring.
“If Kelsey’s not voted onto the all-conference team, then we have a problem,” Pohlmann said. “She has played tremendous since Christmas. She was kind of our rock there in the middle of the fourth quarter. She did an awesome job.”
Oswego East (11-13, 6-7) led three times in the fourth quarter, the last on a putback from Brittany McWaine with 2:17 left, giving the Wolves a 40-39 lead. But Oswego finished the game on a 10-4 run to pull away for the win.
Oswego East coach Abe Carretto was left wondering what could have been after the narrow loss when he checked out his team’s free-throw shooting stats. The Wolves went 4-for-14 from the line, including missing all six of their first-half attempts.
“At the end of the game, that catches up to you,” Carretto said. “We kept playing hard all the way to the end. I’m glad that we had those opportunities.”
McWaine had a huge game to lead the Wolves, who were playing without starting guard Juliana Wadsworth, who is nursing a hip injury. McWaine scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. LeRoyia Campbell added 15 points.
“About the last three games she’s been back in her midseason form, and we needed that,” Carretto said of McWaine. “When she does that, especially rebounding, it really helps our team.”