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Whitney Young celebrates an overtime win against Bolingbrook Monday night at Hinsdale Central. photo for Sun-Times Media by Jean Lachat
Khaalia Hillsman hung on to the supersectional plaque as if her life depended on it.
For the better part of four tense minutes in overtime, Young’s season depended on Hillsman.
Bolingbrook overcame a 44-31 deficit to start the fourth quarter to force overtime, but Hillsman scored with eight seconds left and Linnae Harper stole the ball at halfcourt to prevent the Raiders from getting off a final shot as Young escaped with a 61-60 victory.
Young (28-4) will face No. 3 Marian Catholic (31-1) in a semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.
“I wanted it so bad,” said Hillsman, the 6-5 junior who scored nine of her 12 points in the overtime. “I really wanted it for the team. We really needed it. I know the team needed it so bad. We worked so hard.”
The Dolphins raced to a 21-6 lead after eight minutes on the strength of 11 points from Taylor Brame (13 points, six rebounds). Brame scored on four consecutive first-quarter possessions for the Dolphins.
Trailing 29-13 with 3:33 remaining in the second quarter, Bolingbrook (24-6) went on a 6-0 run to get within 29-19 with 1:54 left before intermission.
Destiny Harris (nine points), Amarah Coleman (14 points) and Aysia Bugg (10 points) each had a basket during the run. But a long three-pointer from the corner by Snower (eight points), her second of the first half, allowed Young to go into the break with a 32-19 lead.
Harper took over the third quarter for Young, scoring eight points to keep Bolingbrook at arm’s length. Her end-to-end basket following a steal gave the Dolphins a 44-28 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the period.
The Kentucky recruit finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to lead the Dolphins.But after a Kennedy Cattenhead (14 points) three-point got Bolingbrook within 44-31 late in the third quarter, the Raiders came alive in the fourth, outscoring the Dolphins 17-4 to force overtime.
A free throw by Kristen Moore 12 seconds in the extra session gave the Raiders their first lead of the game at 49-48, but Young responded every time Bolingbrook retook the lead.
“We knew we had to score every time they scored,” Harper said. “We had to play together and we had to play hard. I just kept telling everyone I’m not about to do another overtime.”
The loss means that Bolingbrook failed to get downstate for the second straight year. Until last year, Bolingbrook had not failed to get downstate since 2004 when it was knocked out of the state tournament in a sectional semifinal by Benet.