In the teams’ first matchup this season, Somonauk beat LaMoille-Ohio by one point, so Wednesday’s Class 1A Earlville Regional semifinal was bound to be close.
But nobody could have predicted just how close it wound up being all night.
Neither team led by more than four all night and LaMoille wound up taking the lead with 12 seconds left and hanging on for a 47-44 win. The Lions advance to Thursday’s regional title game against Indian Creek.
“I’m very proud of how they fought back,” LaMoille coach Richard Gross said. “We fought adversity all year with our numbers. We did very well. We’re 10-14, and that’s the best record we’ve had in a long time. All of them should be tickled to death, and I think they are.”
LaMoille took a 36-35 lead with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter on a Shiela Browning pull-up jumper in the lane, but Somonauk’s Madison Kawall answered on the next possession with a three-pointer to give the Bobcats (9-19) a 38-36 lead.
LaMoille responded with a 6-0 run, the longest of the game for either team, to take a 42-38 lead with 3:04 left. But Somonauk wasn’t finished. A long jumper from Natalie Rabe and two free throws from Rabe a minute later gave the Bobcats a 44-43 lead with 22 seconds left.
“We put ourselves in a situation to win,” Somonauk coach Eric Roberts said. “We had the lead with 12 seconds left. We had to make one stop and it’s all over. We weren’t able to do that.”
Browning provided the heroics. Her lay-up in the midst of a triple team with 12 seconds left gave the Lions a 45-44 lead. Vanessa Martinez added two free throws in the final second to ice the game.
Browning scored 20 points to go with 12 rebounds in the win.
“Browning is a tough ballplayer,” Roberts said. “One thing we do is try to make sure that if anybody gets into the paint we try to triple team them. They did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
Martinez scored 14 points with 19 rebounds for LaMoille. Rabe led the Bobcats with 19 points. Kawall added 15.
“I’m very proud of Natalie Rabe,” Roberts said. “She stepped up big time for us. She’s a senior and this is her last game and she’s been great for our program.”