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Girls basketball: Yorkville tops Oswego East in regional semifinal

Yorkville's Mackenzie Bollinger takes shot over Oswego East's Brittany McWaine.  | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

Yorkville's Mackenzie Bollinger takes a shot over Oswego East's Brittany McWaine. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 13, 2013 11:29PM

Surviving a 16-2 third quarter barrage by Oswego East at the Class 4A Yorkville Regional, the host Foxes advanced to the championship game with a 54-43 victory. Yorkville will square off with the highly-touted Bolingbrook Raiders, who thumped Plainfield North 96-27.

While battling flu, Yorkville senior Mackenzie Bollinger stepped up in the second half and propelled the Foxes (18-8) to the win. Bollinger sank 6 of 6 attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and added a crucial steal and a layup.

Leading 25-19 at the intermission, Bollinger extended the margin to 29-19 with 6:35 to play in the third quarter after a putback and a baseline jumper. But the Wolves countered with a 16-2 burst as the Foxes went scoreless for 4:08. Brittany McWaine deposited a pair of offensive rebounds, and LaNisha Cruickshank drilled two treys and a couple free throws in that span. The Foxes answered with a 9-0 run and never trailed again.

“It’s regionals and we all obviously wanted to win and get the chance to play Bolingbrook,” Bollinger said. “I just did what I could and fought it out to get the win.”

Trailing 35-31 late in the third stanza, the Foxes swung the momentum. Kierra Jordan scored on a feed from Brittany Straznickas, and Paige Beach followed with a long ball from the corner with three ticks left on the clock for a 36-35 edge with eight minutes remaining.

Straznickas opened the final frame with two makes from the free-throw line, and Lindsey Schlichting (11 points) went down the lane for a bucket and a 40-35 lead at the seven-minute mark.

Bollinger, who scored a team-high 17 points, then took over. She managed to get to the charity stripe and her steal and layup with four minutes left put the Foxes ahead 48-38.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. They responded throughout the game,” Yorkville coach Luke Engelhardt said. “Everybody contributed offensively and defensively.

“(Bollinger) didn’t look too well out there, but she showed her toughness and why she’s one of the better players, I think, in the area,” Engelhardt added. “She’s a huge competitor.”

Cruickshank came off the bench to lead the Wolves (12-15) with 17 points, while McWaine scored 20.

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