Charge or block? Dana Turner wasn’t sure either.
“The refs always get me for a charge,” Walther Lutheran’s 5-foot-7 junior guard said. “I was just praying and hoping it was block.”
Turner got the benefit of the call on a baseline drive and made the back end of a two-shot foul with :01 remaining to lift Walther Lutheran to a 33-32 victory over Lisle in the championship game of the Class 2A regional at IC Catholic Prep in Elmhurst.
“I just knew I had to take the time and aim for the front end of the rim,” Turner said. “We’ve really been working on free throws in the postseason, so I just had to calm down and act like I was back home in the gym.
“I didn’t want to play four more minutes,” she added. “I wanted to end it in regulation.”
Walther Lutheran’s regional title, its fourth in a row, capped a game with more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel.
The Broncos (23-6) opened the game on a 6-0 run, did not score in the second quarter, used an 8-0 run to pull within 22-19 in the third, then took advantage of Lisle’s 2-for-10 free-throw shooting in the final stanza to wipe out a 30-21 deficit.
“I thought we came out real well,” Walther Lutheran coach Todd Fisher said. “I was happy with the enthusiasm, happy with what we were doing. Then he (Lisle coach Dan Murray) went to the box-and-one in the second quarter.
“We were ready for it, we just settled for too many outside shots and we did not rebound,” Fisher added. “Dan’s team played a great game. It’s too bad two teams like this have to play in a regional championship game and not further along in the state tournament.”
Lisle withstood Walther Lutheran’s 6-0 run to start the game by closing the first half on a 20-6 spree capped by Kristina Fernette’s second three-pointer of the half. The Lions also bounced back from an 8-0 run by the Broncos in the third to take a 30-21 lead with 7:12 remaining on another Fernette three.
“We knew the explosiveness Walther has,” Murray said. “We knew they were going to have runs. It was just a matter of containing their runs and bouncing back.”
But six turnovers against the Broncos’ man-to-man pressure and the Lions’ errant foul shooting spelled doom in the final 5:33.
“It’s pretty obvious what it came down to,” Murray said. “We didn’t hit free throws.
“As far as the turnovers, we we’re trying to outdribble them the length of the floor which we’re just not going to do,” he added. “They came from behind and tipped a number of balls. We talked about that. We wanted to push to open areas pick up the ball and move it.
“I hate to say we did an extremely poor job in a regional final in which we took these guys to the wire like we did, but in that capacity we did a poor job there and did a poor job from the free-throw line and that’s what cost us,” Murray said.
Arra Strong added 11 points for Walther Lutheran, which advances to the Lisle sectional against the winner of the St. Benedict regional Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Kelly Urban led Lisle with 11 points.