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Plano's Zhate Jackson goes in for a lay up as Kaneland's Caroline Helmerdinger looks on during their Class 3A Regional game Wednesday evening in Burlington. | Michael R. Schmidt ~ For Sun-Times Media
Apparently Plainfield East wasn’t satisfied with just a 10-point lead at halftime in Wednesday’s Class 4A Lemont semifinal against West Aurora.
The Bengals scored the first nine points of the third quarter and outscored the Blackhawks 27-10 in the quarter to turn a nice lead into a full-on 62-34 rout.
Plainfield East (24-4) will face Romeoville on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. for the regional title.
“They played great defense and they frustrated us,” West Aurora coach Connie Siljendahl said. “They really did a nice job of stopping us from doing what we wanted to do and we had a hard time controlling them.”
West Aurora (10-16) started out strong, jumping to a quick 5-0 lead, but it was short-lived as the Bengals took the lead for good on a Faith Suggs three-pointer with 2:45 left in the opening quarter.
After watching Romeoville win in the opener, Plainfield East recognized that a potential fourth meeting with the Spartans was looming with a victory.
“We tried to keep preaching to them that if we don’t get this game then we won’t be playing again,” Plainfield East coach Missy Mitidiero said. “I thought they did a great job of living in the moment, keeping their focus on this game.”
The Blackhawks proved unable to match the speed and athleticism of the Bengals, which was no more apparent then the third quarter.
“We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy and close this thing out,” Plainfield East senior Nikia Edom said. “Our game plan was to play tight defense and we seemed to get into the passing lanes and just came out better in the second half.”
Suggs led the winners with 18 points while Edom added 12.
Abriya Zeitz scored 15 points to pace the Blackhawks while Alexis Wiggins added 10 points.
“We just ran out of gas tonight,” Siljendahl said. “We had some opportunities in the beginning and we didn’t take advantage of finding who was open or the mismatches. We just didn’t move the ball like we needed to.”