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Lincoln-Way East’s Marissa DeGroot doesn’t need to score much to be a big part of the Griffins’ success.
Instead, the senior forward throws her body around the court, grabs rebounds, blocks shots and plays frenetic defense.
But when given the opportunity, she isn’t going to shy away.
Hitting two key free throws late, DeGroot’s all-around effort helped lead Lincoln-Way East to a 40-35 victory over Andrew Friday at the Medieval Classic.
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure, but it’s important to step back, relax and do what you’ve been doing since you were little,” DeGroot said. “Free throws are basic so keep your composure and knock them down.”
Lincoln-Way East (11-1) will play Lincoln-Way North, 55-44 winners over Lincoln-Way Central, Saturday at 6 p.m. for the tournament championship.
Meaghan McMahon led the Griffins with 17 points, 16 of them in the first half, with DeGroot (8 rebounds) and Kara Krolicki scoring nine apiece.
DeGroot stepped to the free throw line with 39 seconds left in the fourth and East holding a slim 37-35 lead. Typically around a 50 percent shooter at the charity stripe, she swished her two attempts.
After an Andrew turnover, McMahon split two free throws. The Thunderbolts struggled to get a shot off in the closing seconds with East’s Dana O’Grady blocking a late three-point attempt.
Andrew (9-3) was led by Tiana Karopulos (16 points) and Molly Franson (8 points). All eight of Franson’s points came in the first half.
“Defensively we really knew what to expect,” DeGroot said. “We executed and were able to shut down their key players.”
McMahon’s strong first half featured a 4-of-5 performance from beyond the arc.
“We came to the gym early to shoot, and we were confident,” McMahon said. “That helps a lot, and we’re excited to play North.”
Andrew will play Lincoln-Way Central in the third place game at 3 p.m.
“We were never able to chip away,” Andrew coach Bobby Matz said. “We played tough, and it’s a game I hope my kids learn and grow from it.”
Lincoln-Way North 55, Lincoln-Way Central 44: Leigh Larocco (15 points) and Ashley Weringa (10 points) led North (14-1). Autumn Schultz’s 19 points led Central (7-6) with Candace Finnin adding 13.
Lincoln-Way West 62, Noble Street Charter 35: Amanda Hozzian scored 16 for West (6-7) with Danielle Morgan (13) and Emily Ray (12) chipping in.
Plainfield South 58, Lincoln Park 17: Alexandria Tarrant had 12 for South (3-12) with Tyler Everett and Jacquelyn Eubanks scoring 10 apiece.