Sports

Girls basketball: Lincoln-Way West rallies past Lockport

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Lincoln-Way West Guard Taylor Gugliuzza pushes around Central Forward Abi Baumgartner Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at Lincoln-Way Central in New Lenox, Ill.[]

NEW LENOX – Lincoln-Way West girls basketball coach Ryan White has been able to count on getting 3-point baskets from Taylor Gugliuzza during her career.

While the Warriors guard failed to make one from long-range on Tuesday, White gladly will take the sophomore’s contribution in Tuesday’s nonconference game against Lockport.

Gugliuzza scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, which included eight key points in the final 3:09, as West rallied to claim a
65-62 victory over the Porters.

The Warriors (7-1), who led by as much as 15 points in the second quarter, trailed, 53-52, with 5:14 left after Taylor Hopkins (16 points) hit two free throws. But Gugliuzza and Sydney Swanberg (11 points) took over after that to combine for the host’s final 13 points.

“In the second quarter we kind of shut down and weren’t playing defense or moving on offense,” Gugliuzza said. “So the fact that we were able to pick each other up and play like we normally do was really good. It’s rough, especially when they’re all over you, but you get mad enough to a certain point that you just go. I’m very happy with how we’re doing. Our team works really well together.”

The Porters (4-2) moved ahead one more time at 57-54 with 2:36 left after a layup by Finley Travis and then a layup by Treasure Thompson (15 points, eight rebounds) before Swanberg tied the game with a 3 with 2:23 left. After Gugliuzza hit to free throws and Thompson answered with a layup to tie it at 59-59 with 2:02 left, West took control for good.

Gugliuzza hit back-to-back layups to make it 63-59 before the Porters responded with a free throw from Jacqueline Maka and a layup by Travis to pull to within a point. But after Hopkins missed a late attempt, Swanberg wrapped things up with two free throws.

“We have a lot of young kids out there,” White said. “I didn’t want it to get to that point, but it is good, especially after a victory to face some adversity. We were in a situation where they started pressing, and we handled that. Even though we’d made some turnovers, it was a learning experience, and those are always a little easier after a win.

“This was a big win for us because Lockport is balanced. They’ve got solid guards and some size and athleticism, and for us that’s our toughest matchup because of our size. It’s amazing what a three-point win will do for a team’s attitude.”

Things started off great for the Warriors, who scored the final eight points of the first quarter to take a 18-6 lead. They went up 25-10 after a 3 from Swanberg before the Porters went on an 18-6 run to close to within 31-28 at halftime.

Lockport took a 43-38 lead in the third quarter after two free throws and a basket from Payton Grecevic (10 points), but Tara Hastings (15 points) and Gugliuzza each scored five points to pull the teams even at 49-49 with eight minutes left. The Warriors also received 12 points and five rebounds from Tara Gugliuzza.

“We played well,” Porters coach Dan Kelly said. “One metric we’re trying to use to see how well we’re executing on offense is points per possession, and in the second quarter we had 23 possessions and 22 points. We missed a lot of shots in the first quarter, and a lot of credit to Lincoln-Way since their defense forced a lot of those. Credit to them for making the plays when they had to. But I’m proud of the way that our girls performed and our resiliency. We got a lot of positive signs from this one.”