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Girls basketball: Oswego squeaks past Waubonsie Valley

Amy Annal(left) Oswego is fouled by AniyLightford (22) Waubonsie Valley. | JCunningham~For Sun-Times Media

Amy Annala (left) of Oswego is fouled by Aniya Lightford (22) of Waubonsie Valley. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 15, 2012 6:15AM

In the waning seconds in a tie game during the season opener Tuesday, Oswego girls basketball coach Chad Pohlmann’s plan was to find a way to get sophomore guard Amri Wilder to the rim.

As the seconds ticked away, Wilder finally made her move and used a screen to get to the rim and put in the game-winning shot to give the Panthers a 37-35 nonconference win over Waubonsie Valley.

“I know I rush things, so I knew I had to take my time and get the right shot,” Wilder said. “It feels good. The whole crowd ran out and everything.”

Oswego led 22-19 at the half, but didn’t even score a basket from two-point range until the two-minute mark of the third quarter. Three three-pointers from sophomore Siarra O’Neill (team-high 11 points) in her varsity debut and solid shooting from the free throw line (13-for-17) made up for the deficiency from inside the arc.

“That’s not good basketball,” Pohlmann said. “It’s got to go inside first and then out. It just wasn’t transpiring that way. We’ll watch the tape and show the girls the things they have to improve on.”

Waubonsie was fielding almost an entirely different team than last year, from the head coach on down. Dave Owles was coaching his first varsity game and the Warriors had only one player, Taylor Ameri, who saw any significant time last year. Ryaen Johnson is out with a cut on her finger that Owles hopes will require only one more game off, four senior starters graduated and the other starter last year moved to Texas.

Despite all of that, the Warriors held their own.

“We played well enough on defense to win a lot of games,” Owles said. “I can’t really complain. We forced them into a scramble, tough shot (at the end) and she made a good shot.”

Ameri paced the Warriors with 12 points and Morgan Grastorf added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Waubonsie closed the first quarter on a 14-2 run to take a 17-6 lead. Oswego fought back to take a 22-19 halftime lead by outscoring the Warriors 15-3 in the second quarter. The Panthers stretched the lead to 29-23 after three quarters, only to see the Warriors take a 32-31 lead with 3:10 left on an Alexis McGaughy jumper. Emma Rigby’s lay-up with 41 seconds left tied the game at 35-35 before Wilder saved the day for the Panthers.

“It’s always better to win, but this game was also good for us because we’re young and we can take the mistakes they made and fix them next Saturday when we play Naperville North,” Pohlmann said.

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