By Scott Taylor
Plainfield North outscored Plainfield Central Tuesday night 10-1 in the fourth quarter in a 37-23 win at Central.
The Tigers led 27-22 after three quarters and that was the score early in the fourth quarter when the game’s turning point took place.
The Wildcats missed a pair of free throws that could have made it a one possession game. On the other end the Tigers missed a shot but Lauren Higgins picked up her own miss and was fouled on a shot. She sunk both free throws and the lead went up to seven instead of three.
Higgins took the game over from there, scoring eight straight points as the Tigers pulled away.
“It was a close game and I felt I needed to step up,” Higgins said. “We kind of lacked intensity in the first half and we brought it up in the second half to get the win.”
In the first half it was Tierrah Farris who got the Tigers off to a hot start, sinking three first half three-pointers and had 11 points in the first half.
“Yea, I was kind of feeling it,” Farris said. “I was in the moment. I was thinking, this is going good. I got the game started with a couple shots and the team got it going from there.”
Kelle Knopp added seven first half points as North took a 23-13 lead into the half, despite foul trouble.
“Our bench came in and did a good job,” Farris said. “We just had to keep it up and move our feet more.”
“Coach told us to move our feet and we really did that in the second half,” Higgins added.
Central had several chances early in the third quarter with good looks at the basket, but the shots wouldn’t fall. Still, a strong defensive effort got it to within five after three.
“There’s three things we want to do every game: Execute, physicality and ball security,” Central coach Gregg Bayer said. “You look at the stats and we had 20 turnovers and I think we can improve on that. We did execute I felt and the majority of our shots were good shots and shots we wanted to get. It is just a matter of knocking them down. We had the girls playing hard. We had five or six charges with our girls stepping in. They are sticking to the scouting report and we held another team in the 30s. We just have to get those shots to fall. We’re going to keep shooting and staying the course.”
The Wildcats were led by Erin Graefen and Katie Kearney, who scored seven points apiece. Viviana Medina added seven rebounds.
“A lot of things went our way tonight,” Bayer said. “The one thing that didn’t was getting the ball to go in the basket.”
North will come home to take on Romeoville at 5 p.m. Friday in a key early season Southwest Prairie Conference contest.
“We need to box out and drive to the basket more,” Farris said. “And free throws. We need to make more free throws next game.”
“We have to focus on not getting fouls,” Higgins said. “We can’t get fouls like we did today. We have to move our feet the whole game.”
The Wildcats have a busy week as they are hosting Morris Friday and travel to Joliet Central Friday.
“I told the girls I want to be 2-1 on the week,” Bayer said. “You can’t get to 2-1 before you get to 1-1. Tomorrow night is going to be a battle. We are going back-to-back but they are too. Looking forward to picking up where we left off with our defense and rebounding and getting some more baskets to fall and come away with the W.”
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