Lyons Township coach Katie Meyers saw her team lead for most of the game, but she never felt comfortable. That’s because Oak Park-River Forest had Stekara Hall on its side.
Meyers’ worry turned out to be warranted.
Hall poured in 33 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:01 remaining, to carry the host Huskies to a come-from-behind, 63-62 victory over Lyons in a West Suburban Conference Silver Division thriller late Saturday afternoon in Oak Park.
Hall scored 10 straight points for Oak Park (6-14, 3-4) in the fourth quarter, including a personal 8-0 run in the game. The Illinois State-bound guard tied the game at 58 on a 15-foot jumper at the free-throw line with 1:49 remaining, then gave the Huskies a 60-58 lead, their first since the opening quarter, on a 10-foot baseline jumper with 1:01 left.
Oak Park protected the lead the rest of the way to avenge a 57-48 loss on Dec. 6 at Lyons (10-5, 4-2).
“We lost to them at their place so I didn’t want to lose to them twice,” said Hall, who rang up 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting in the second half to will her team to victory.
Hall wound up shooting 13 of 21 from the field and 7 of 7 from the line. She also collected nine rebounds, five steals and three assists.
“You could tell in the first half she was really feeling it today,” Huskies coach Bob Biggins said. “It was fun to watch.”
Lyons’ Colleen Connors was feeling it early, too. The senior guard made three three-pointers and scored 12 points during a 16-3 run by the Lions that propelled them to a 20-9 lead in the first quarter.
Lyons led 32-27 at halftime and 47-46 after three quarters. The Lions stretched their edge to 58-52 on Victoria Swift’s pair of free throws with 2:47 left.
That proved to be enough time for Hall and the Huskies to finally overtake the Lions.
“I never felt comfortable for one second,” Meyers said. “We knew Oak Park would come back. We know that Hall is an excellent player. She elevates nicely and she can shoot over pretty much any defensive player I’ve seen this year, and if she’s on fire you can never be comfortable against Oak Park because Hall’s the real deal.”
Lyons had a last-ditch chance to tie the game after Connors made the first of two free throws to bring her team within 63-61 with 0.7 seconds left. However, she also made the second shot by mistake, negating the opportunity for a game-tying putback.
“When we try to make it we miss it, when we try to miss it we make it,” Meyers said. “It’s just how it went. We never practiced that situation. It’s funny, before the game I was talking to my assistant coach in theory, what would we do if we were up by three and there were less than 10 seconds left? Should we foul? And they actually did the same thing to us. They got us with that foul at the end. That was a very smart move by (Biggins).”
Ashanti Davis led Lyons in scoring with 17. Connors finished with 14 and Katie Morrison added 12 for the Lions.
Hall was the lone Huskie to reach double figures. Hailey Hoye scored nine, Caroline Kelty tallied eight points and five assists, and Cuyla Hall chipped in even points off the bench in the feel-good win for the home team.