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The SouthWest Suburban Red race is officially up for grabs.
Andrew created the chaos on Tuesday, riding a powerful fourth quarter by Molly Franson to a 42-31 victory over Stagg.
The win drew the visiting Thunderbolts (16-4, 6-2) into a tie in the loss column with Stagg (15-5, 7-2), which is on a two-game losing streak in conference.
Franson, who had just one field goal and 7 points in a 41-22 loss to Stagg on Dec. 11, totaled 16 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-foot-1 junior forward scored 8 of her points in the fourth period, which saw Andrew break open what had been a two-point game going in.
“We executed. We played as a team,” Franson said of the late breakaway. “I mean, they’re a good team. I’m not going to take anything away from them. But we really just came out and did what we were told to do.”
Buoyed by some early three-pointers by Nicole Dominguez (10 points), the Thunderbolts led 14-8 after one period. Stagg made up that difference and actually led 26-22 midway through the third quarter after a three-point play by Revi McMahon. But a chain reaction of events turned the tables one more time.
Aftrer Tiana Karopulos (8 points) drew Andrew within one with a driving layup, Amy Jendra converted a putback to tie it up. Then, with 53.9 seconds left in the period, a jump ball skirmish resulted in McMahon being assessed a technical foul.
Karopulos went to the free throw line and sank both shots to make it 28-26 Thunderbolts at the break. Stagg then turned the ball over on its first possession of the fourth quarter, and Andrew pounced on the chance with a layup by Georgia Alexakos. Franson followed with a putback, but her biggest dagger was probably a three-point swish with 4:08 left to play that made it 35-28.
“We were in good control when it was 28-28 and we had the ball,” Stagg coach Bill Turner said. “But then we got the technical and it changed the whole momentum of the game. And I thought we did a good job on Tiana, and Molly scored 16. But really, they only scored 42 points (as a team) so I thought we did a good job defensively. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”