Foul trouble was the only thing stopping Jada Green on Saturday, and it nearly derailed Downers Grove North.
Green, who played most of the second half with three fouls and nearly four minutes of the fourth quarter with four fouls, had 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals to carry the Trojans to a tense 49-47 victory over Andrew at the Rachel Bach Tournament hosted by Glenbard East.
“It was interesting,” said Green, a 6-2 junior guard. “We probably need to work on finishing the game a little better. The foul trouble was probably the biggest thing. We just have to work on moving our feet on defense, because we got all we wanted on offense.”
Green provided most of the offense early for Downers North (1-0), and when she wasn’t scoring, she was creating opportunities for her teammates.
Her nifty pass to a driving Madison Farnworth gave the Trojans their biggest lead at 39-26 with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter, and she found sophomore Brigid Miller for a layup that gave Downers North a 46-35 lead with 5:36 left in the fourth.
“Jada’s worked hard and she’s going to keep getting better, too,” Downers North coach Stephen Bolt said. “She really wants us to be successful, and the best thing about her she’s got a team mentality. Whatever it takes to win, she’s going to do.”
Downers North’s 6-3 center Peyton Winters (seven points, five rebounds two blocks) exited with her fifth foul at the 2:46 mark, but the Trojans still led 48-37 on Green’s baseline drive 43 seconds later.
That’s when things got interesting.
A 3-pointer by Andrew’s 5-7 junior guard Brianna Brown made it 48-40 with 1:43 remaining, and after consecutive turnovers by the Trojans, Brown attacked the basket for a pair of layups that cut the lead to 48-44.
“We stress to Brianna that she can be aggressive like that,” Andrew assistant coach T.J. Dexter said. “She just has to do that on a consistent basis. You can see what happens when she does.”
A free throw by Lauren Porcelli gave Downers North a 49-44 lead with 10 seconds left, but Michelle Borgen’s 3-pointer got the Thunderbolts within 49-47 with 3.5 seconds remaining.
Green was fouled on the inbounds play, but after she missed the front end of a bonus try, Andrew could do no better than a desperation three-quarter-court heave at the horn.
“I told the girls that if we would have had two more minutes, we probably could have pulled that out,” Dexter said.
Borgen led Andrew (0-1) with 19 points and eight rebounds, and Brown added 11 points. Porcelli and Brigit Miller each had five points for Downers North.
“I think our shot selection down the stretch could have been better when they went zone and we were still ahead,” Bolt said. “We don’t need to force some of those shots, and we could have taken better shots or worked the ball.
“We need to learn that. It’s a good thing for us to learn some of that stuff at the beginning of the season. We missed a lot of layups that we have to finish. We do that and it’s probably a different game. But it’s good for us to fight through some of that stuff early.”