Danisha Maggette stood some 25 feet from the basket and her team down one point with less than a minute to play.
“I was just thinking, I have to get this one,” the junior Hope guard said.
She delivered with a floater in the lane that provided a lead the Eagles never relinquished.
The cousin of former Fenwick and NBA player Corey Maggette scored 14 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter as the Eagles used a 16-4 closing run to wipe out a 10-point deficit and stun Bowen 52-50 in the Class 2A regional title at U-High in Hyde Park on Thursday.
The Eagles advanced to the Harper Class 2A sectional semifinal against the winner of Seton and Illiana Christian.
“They were not ready for their season to end,” Hope coach Kristin Moore said of the Eagles’ furious rally from a 46-36 deficit with just over five minutes remaining. “I called a time out with about six minutes to go and we were down 10, and I just asked them, ‘Are you going to go out and do this or aren’t you?'”
Maggette gave a resounding “yes” to the her coach’s hypothetical. She converted 7-of-8 free throws and made two crucial rebound baskets. She added eight rebounds, five steals and two assists. Her activity and intensity turned the tide for the Eagles (14-6).
Bowen (14-3) used a 9-0 run to end the third quarter for the seemingly safe 38-29 advantage. Sophomore guard Belinda Green scored 17 points to lead three double-figure scorers for the Boilermakers.
Senior forward Quashae Farmer (10 points) sparked the Boilermakers’ early surge with her outside shooting. She fouled out with 1:33 to play in the third quarter and Bowen missed her experience and composure.
Hope forced seven turnovers in the final six minutes to claw back into the game. The Eagles also forced Bowen to play at a faster pace or attempt shots early in the possession, despite the fact Bowen held the advantage.
“We knew they really only had one ballhandler, No. 23 [Angel Barnes] out there, and if we took the ball away from her, we’d get turnovers,” Maggette said.
Junior Tanisha Hampton added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles. Her three-point play off an offensive rebound ignited the game-closing run. Freshman guard NeCoya Langston drilled two three-pointers in adding eight points for the Eagles.
Maggette was the difference-maker in the final quarter. She scored nine points during the three-minute flurry.
Her offensive rebound pulled the Eagles within 48-47 with 1:22 to play. After a Bowen turnover, Hope spread the floor and Maggette sliced through the Boilermakers’ defensive interior for the floater with just under 50 seconds for the 49-48 lead.
Hope outscored Bowen 23-12 in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore guard Barnes scored 13 points for the Boilermakers.
“We’re in the [Public League] Green Division, and we’ve never played a team of this caliber before,” Bowen coach Kennard Johnson. “They threw that pressure at us, and we had no idea how to handle.
“It was just too much for us.”