MINOOKA — Senior guard Karli Carter picked a great time for her Minooka Indians to make her only basket of Tuesday's Southwest Prairie Conference game against Oswego East.
Carter made a three-pointer with 10 seconds left that completed the scoring in a 42-40 varsity girls basketball victory for the Indians in their home opener.
East took three shots, sandwiched around two offensive rebounds, on the other end looking to force overtime, but none fell, and Minooka ended a three-game losing streak.
"I just wanted to take an open shot if one was there. It was my only points all game, but I felt I would step up if I could," Carter said. "I've never made one to win a game — not like this. ... It feels pretty cool."
Late in a game when the Indians had two players (Erin Heide and Sydney Arlis) in double figures and another player (Larissa McLemen) with nine points, coach Ray Liberatore designed a play for none of them when the Indians got the ball following an East turnover with 33 seconds left to play. The Indians passed the ball a number of times before it found Carter for her shot.
"I'm very happy to have Karli take that shot," Liberatore said. "We weren't targeting a specific individual in that situation. We were looking for the best shot we could get. She's a senior, and in a situation where we need a shot that big, you'd rather have someone who's been in that situation before take it."
For much of the game, it appeared last-minute heroics would not be required. The Wolves built a 28-19 lead by halftime after out-rebounding Minooka 21-13 and forcing nine turnovers in the first half, allowing them to hold a 32-15 advantage in field-goal attempts.
McLemen and Arlis had two baskets apiece during a 12-2 run with which the Indians opened the second half to take their first lead since the 1:30 mark of the first quarter.
"We started boxing out better and tried not to let them get as many rebounds in the second half as they did in the first," McLemen said. "I did (get more involved offensively), and my teammates did a nice job of getting me some good passes. They deserve the credit."
Minooka remained ahead into the fourth, which East guard Venita Parsons opened with a three to return control to the Wolves. Back-to-back Heide baskets, including a three, put Minooka up four, but the Indians then went into a scoring drought that spanned 4:40 and lasted until the Carter three.
Despite the fourth-quarter slump, the Indians attempted 20 shots to East's 19 in the second half and had as many rebounds (13) as the Wolves. Minooka was 15-for-35 from the field for the game and 10-for-16 from the free-throw line; East was 17-for-51 and 3-for-7.
"It just seemed, in the second half, we were much more aggressive on both ends of the floor," Liberatore said. "That was the most aggressive we've been in a half this year."
Heide was 5-for-10 from the field and 5-for-7 from the line in scoring a game-high 16 points for the Indians. They got 12 points from Arlis and nine with 15 rebounds, four steals and a blocked shot from McLemen.
"I've been trying to fill in the points (that were lost to graduation) and step up and score," Heide said. "Our seniors like Larissa and Karli have been big in doing that too."
Oswego East 29
Abbie Hoeg scored 11 points and Emily Knaub added 10 for Minooka (6-1, 1-0)