WOODSTOCK – Woodstock guard Megan Pautrat and her four fellow seniors entered Thursday’s crosstown rivalry game against Woodstock North eager to end a five-game losing streak in the series.
The Blue Streaks withstood a 7-0 run by North to open the third quarter, which put the Thunder ahead by two points. Woodstock, focused on limiting turnovers, recovered and delivered a fourth-quarter effort worthy of a win. Aided by Pautrat making 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth, including six in the final two minutes, Woodstock held off North for a 52-48 Fox Valley Conference Fox Division win.
The win was the Blue Streaks’ first against the Thunder in three seasons, their last coming in a two-point victory Jan. 4, 2011. Pautrat said the seniors talked in the locker room before the game about “giving it all they got” to beat the Thunder on the Streaks’ home court for the last time.
“That’s huge for us, especially me being a senior, it’s the last time we’re playing on our home court against North so the win is nice,” Pautrat said.
Pautrat (14 points) was one of three players to score double digits for Woodstock (2-4, 1-0 FVC Fox). Senior forward Cody Brand scored a team-high 15 points while junior forward Selena Juarez added 11 points to match her season high. The Blue Streaks led after every quarter with their biggest lead going into halftime, 22-17.
“We called a timeout and tried to get the kids back under control,” Woodstock coach Marty Hammond said of recovering from the Thunder’s second-half start. “We told them we need to stop this roll and be more patient offensively. I think they did a real nice job doing that.”
But North (2-5, 0-1) scored seven consecutive points in the first two minutes of the third quarter to go ahead 24-22. Junior guard Ashley Jones provided the scoring spark for the Thunder, finishing with a game-high 17 points including two 3-pointers. Sophomore center Haley Ahr added 12 points for North.
The Thunder managed to keep the game close in the second quarter, despite failing to score a field goal. However, poor free throw shooting throughout the game proved costly for North. The Thunder made only 7 of 14 free throw attempts in the second quarter and finished the game shooting 48 percent at the line (12 for 25).
“Free throws have hurt us a lot,” Thunder coach Mike Lewis said. “The way fouls are being called, the way that we can get to the line as much as we do, to not be able to capitalize on that and lose a four-point game that’s huge. It’s starting to hurt. We should have won, I believe, if we made our free throws.”
While the Blue Streaks weren’t much better on their free throw attempts, converting 15 of 27 attempts (55.5 percent), they made them when it mattered down the stretch.