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Sometimes, even the best teams need a little help.
A questionable travelling call against Romeoville gave Plainfield East the ball under its own basket with .07 seconds remaining in regulation, and on the ensuing inbound, Faith Suggs fed Gabby Williams for a layup that gave the Bengals a 54-53 victory Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Montini Christmas Tournament in Lombard.
After Romeoville missed the front end of a bonus opportunity with 11.3 seconds left, Suggs took the ball the length of the floor but missed a driving layup with time running out. Romeoville’s Kiera Currie came out of the scrum underneath the basket with the ball, but was called for travelling by an official 40-feet away from the play.
That allowed Plainfield East (14-0) to set up the game-winning pay.
“We had Faith inbounds the ball because we felt like they were going to keep their eyes on Faith or Nikia (Edom),” Plainfield East coach Missy Mitidiero said. “So we wanted to get the ball to someone that wasn’t expected but that always finishes around the basket.”
Plainfield East might not have even been in the game if not for Edom, who scored 13 of her 20 points in the third quarter as the Bengals rallied from a 28-16 halftime deficit. No. 15 Romeoville (13-2) used a 17-6 run in the second quarter with Edom on the bench with two personal fouls to extend an 11-10 lead.
“They [Romeoville] go on streaks, and that was one of the points in our game plan,” Mitidiero said. “They’re a streaky team, and we had to stop them from making their streaks so long. We did not do a good job in their second quarter.”
Edom’s third three-pointer of the third quarter pulled Plainfield East to within 36-35 with 1:45 remaining, and Suggs gave the Bengals their first lead since the first quarter at 47-45 on a short jumper with 4:26 left in the game.
“Getting in foul trouble [in the first half] really hurt us,” Edom said. “We were in foul trouble the whole game. Some of the players who should have been in couldn’t play. We have to learn to be able to stay in the game without fouling.
“In the third quarter, I told the team. ‘Let’s go,’” she added. “Of course, I’m motivated because I want to win the tournament, and because of whom we play tomorrow [Montini]. My goal, my job is to lift the team up, tell them, ‘Let’s go, we can still do this,’ and that’s what I did.”
Currie led Romeoville with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Angelica Osusky added 11 points and Smith had six points and four assists.
“Currie is a strong player, a smart player, she sees the floor real well and she gets the other players involved,” Romeoville coach Julio Carrasco said. “I thought there were a couple of times where she could have been more aggressive.
“I thought we played a great game,” he added. “Plainfield East came out in the third quarter and put a lot of pressure on us, caused a little mass chaos. They started hitting their shots and we missed a few. It was a great game all over.”
Williams finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Suggs added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Plainfield East.
“I felt like they [the officials] were letting us play quite a bit, which is good,” Mitidiero said. “I love that they let womens basketball play. It livens up the game, makes you play harder and all that kind of stuff. It works out. I’m happy it worked out in our favor.”