Lindsay Harrison missed playing one more game on her home court.
The Yorkville senior likely will still get a chance to play against Minooka, though – although if the seeds play out, the much larger stakes of a regional title will be on the line.
Coincidentally, the Foxes hosted the Indians in nonconference action on Tuesday and held on for a 39-34 victory on Senior Night.
It was also an opportunity for the teams to see a little of each other and fine tune some things for the state series and a probable rematch.
“It’s a very odd timing and you don’t want to show too much of your stuff, but at the same time you want to win every game you play,” Yorkville coach Kim Wensits said. “If you don’t win, you use it as motivation; if you do win, you don’t want to get over cocky. It definitely came down to sending our seniors out and trying to win for those two.”
Once again, senior Lauren Daffenberg came up big in the victory, knocking down five three-pointers and finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
“With it being senior night I wanted to go out and play to our game plan and just execute that and have some fun,” Daffenberg said. “It’s hard to believe how fast this came up. It still doesn’t feel like senior night. It’s definitely a mixture of feelings with it being the last game on the home court, but also being really excited to get into the postseason.”
The other senior recognized, Harrison, did not play, but she’s expected back for the Foxes (19-6) in their opening game in the Class 4A Plainfield South regional against either Plainfield Central or Oswego Feb. 14. With a win there, the Foxes likely will battle the Indians once again on Feb. 16.
“She’s been out for about a week and half now,” Wensits said. “She’ll be back. She will be ready.”
With Harrison out of the lineup, Minooka was able to do most of its scoring inside and get second-chance opportunities. Savannah Johnson and Sophie Darden each scored 10 points apiece in the paint and they had the lion’s share of the team’s 18 second-chance points.
“Once we get our big in the middle [Harrison] hopefully we’ll be able to stop some of that defensively and then get our outside and inside ratio to even out a bit on offense,”Daffenberg said. “Obviously getting this win without Lindsay is huge and we’ll be excited to play them again. Tonight being my last game here I wanted to walk out with a win.”
Minooka (20-8) had won 13 of 14 games but never seemed to get in a groove offensively.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight from the outside or inside, but I think you have to give them credit,” Minooka coach Ray Liberatore said. “It was senior night and they weren’t going to lose.”
Freshman Kenzie Senffner had eight points and sophomore Lily Guerra added seven points for Yorkville. Both knocked down three-pointers with Senffer displaying her shooting touch with a pair of threes in the first half. Junior Claudia Grunwald added a basket and sophomore Olivia Ross made a free throw and handled the defensive grunt work inside against Minooka’s bigs.
“Kenzie had a phenomenal game, Grunwald stepped up and Guerra had a couple big shots there and played great,” Wensits said. “We had a lot of kids stepping up like Olivia Ross at 5-foot-7 going at it and defending their big girl.”