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Aurora Central Catholic's Lisa Rodriguez and Alex DeCraene (12) earn a jump ball by tying up Rosary's Quincy Kellett Wednesday in Aurora. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Rosary’s girls basketball team honored its five senior players on Senior Night Wednesday, but it was the underclassmen that stole the show against neighborhood rival Aurora Central.
Junior Rachel Choice and sophomore Quincy Kellett scored 12 of the Royals’ 14 fourth-quarter points to help the Royals post a 44-38 Suburban Christian Blue win, completing a season sweep of their rivals.
“Their game plan was to take away our two leading scorers (seniors Madison Richmond and Karly Tate), and they did,” Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox said. “But the positive thing was that our underclassmen got it done. They did a great job in a high-pressure situation. Those sophomores are first-year varsity players, and for them to rise to the occasion and have confidence like that is just amazing.”
Rosary (13-11 overall, 6-4 SCC Blue) took the lead for good with 4:45 left in the third quarter on a lay-up from senior Mary Wentworth. But that lead was never safe as ACC (12-12, 2-8) hung around. The Chargers cut the lead to one on six different occasions after Rosary took the lead, but they were never able to get the lead or tie the game.
Rosary wound up sealing the game on the offensive glass. Up only 37-35, Kellett put in a rebound put-back, the third Rosary offensive rebound of that possession, to push the lead to 39-35. Then when fellow sophomore Megan Conlin missed a free throw on the next possession, she got her own rebound and dished it to Choice for a lay-up to dramatically give the Royals a 41-35 lead.
“They wanted the ball,” Wilcox said. “They knew how important having the basketball at the end of the game was, and it showed. That was good.”
The Chargers had their way with Rosary the past couple of seasons after a lengthy Rosary run of dominance, but saw that run come to an end with a pair of losses to their rivals from down Edgelawn Drive this season. Lisa Rodriguez led the Chargers with 14 points, with Katie Soris adding 12 points.
“I can’t fault the effort of our kids,” ACC coach Mark Fitzgerald said. “They fought to the very end. Once again, our youth hurt us in certain spots. But that’s nothing to take away from Rosary. They played real hard. But honestly, I think our kids played just as hard. I think it was a draw and I’m sorry that somebody had to lose.”
With Richmond and Tate held to 11 combined points (though Tate grabbed 11 rebounds), Kellett fought through foul trouble to lead the Royals with 13 points. Choice added 10.
“Coach just kept saying when I was on the bench to keep my head in this because you’re going back in in the fourth quarter,” Kellett said. “I just kept focusing on the game. This is (the seniors’) last chance to beat them and it’s on our home floor, so they told us we’re not losing this game.”