Supporting cast stars in Oak Lawn regional title win

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Oak Lawn’s Jannah Mahmoud stood at halfcourt, her arms wrapped around a regional title plaque.

This was a moment she won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

The senior and her Spartan teammates had earned this celebration, with host Oak Lawn defeating Mother McAuley 55-48 on Thursday.

“I can’t even tell you,” Mahmoud said. “This has been our goal all season, more than conference, we wanted the regional. It’s been our goal forever.”

Oak Lawn (27-1) won its first regional title since the 2006-2007 season, advancing to Tuesday’s Bloom Sectional, where the Spartans will play the Marist vs. T.F. North winner.

That’s for next week. For now, Oak Lawn can appreciate a night where seemingly nothing could go wrong. Mahmoud finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, including a crazy buzzer-beater to close the first quarter.

Mahmoud picked up a loose ball and drilled a three-pointer from three-quarters court to put the Spartans up 14-7.

She had one more buzzer-beater in her pocket, a midrange jumper, to close the third with Oak Lawn up 41-29.

“There’s something special about this group,” Mahmoud said. “I love them all.”

Oak Lawn managed a double-digit lead over the third and fourth quarters with the Spartans’ leading scorer and floor general LaTondra Brooks (15 points, four rebounds, three steals) on the bench with four fouls.

Her backcourt mate Brooke Annerino (10 points), a four-year varsity player, stepped into the spotlight. The senior’s calmness helped Oak Lawn kill clock in the fourth while her fast-break bucket off her own steal extended the lead to 48-32 with 6:24 to go.

“We’ve worked so hard for this, and it’s an awesome feeling,” Annerino said. “Without LaTondra, we know what we have to do. We have a talk and work as a team just like we’re taught.”

Mother McAuley (18-9) cut the deficit to single-digits late but could never quite get over the hump. The Mighty Macs had an uncharacteristically off night from the floor, shooting 19-of-60 overall and 5-of-21 from three-point land.

Elizabeth Nye battled through foul trouble, finishing with 16 points and three assists before fouling out late in the fourth. Jasma Williams added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Macs.

“The shots didn’t fall, and there was nothing we could do,” Nye said. “Oak Lawn played great, but I’m so proud of what this team has done. This team, this season meant more than any one win.”

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