Aysia Bugg, Ryaen Johnson spark Bolingbrook’s second-half burst

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Bolingbrook coach Christopher Smith is still looking for “four quarters of good basketball” from his team, but he got two good ones on Thursday to keep the Raiders’ hopes of winning the Hillcrest Holiday Classic alive.

Aysia Bugg and Ryaen Johnson lit a fire under the Raiders after a sluggish start, triggering a second-half turnaround and an eventual 55-45 win over Lockport in a second-round contest.

Johnson (10 rebounds) and Bugg finished with 13 points each, while Cierra Stanciel added 10 points for Bolingbrook (6-1).

Naomi Mayes scored 19 points for Lockport (6-3).

Bolingbrook, which was seeded No. 2 behind Joliet Catholic, used its height advantage early to go up 5-0, but Lockport would prove a formidable foe over the next several minutes.

The Porters pushed the ball and drew multiple fouls, getting to the free-throw line seven times in the first quarter, with Mayes shooting 6-of-9.

Lockport went up for the first time midway through the second period, 17-15, via a Laurel Kucharski layup. The Porters also had the final say of the half, with Mayes hitting a pull-up jumper to make it 24-21 at intermission.

“We talked [at halftime] about staying focused on what we needed to do and show it on the court,” Johnson said. “We just wanted to keep working. Even though we were a little frustrated, we had to keep working.”

The Raiders, who after scoring on their first five possessions went on a 2-of-15 tailspin from the field and committed 12 turnovers and myriad fouls, found their rhythm at the outset of the third period.

Johnson and Bugg each took turns driving the lane for layups, and then erased their final deficit (27-25) when Bugg again went to the basket and converted a three-point play.

Bugg totaled nine points in the third quarter and was key during a finishing flurry in which the Raiders outscored Lockport 12-3.

A three-pointer by Stanciel at the start of the fourth period gave Bolingbrook its biggest lead at 43-31. Lockport was able to get back within five, but Johnson was clutch at the free-throw line down the stretch (5-of-6) to help Bolingbrook stay in command.

“I’m very proud of the effort,” Lockport coach Krista Peterson said. “We battled the entire time through, but the depth is what got us, I thought, at the end getting in foul trouble.

“They got a run there in the third quarter that we couldn’t respond to. When you get down and don’t have people coming off the bench, it’s hard to bounce back.”

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