ADDISON – Sarah Costello and her Downers Grove North girls basketball teammates hadn’t faced much adversity this season.
But when the Trojans did encounter a rough patch against Batavia in a semifinal game of the Class 4A Addison Trail Sectional on Feb. 25, they showed their mettle.
Trailing the Bulldogs 52-39 with 5:29 to go, the Trojans battled all the way back to tie the game at 52-52 before eventually falling, 57-52.
“Pretty much we knew, this is it. We had to go out with a bang,” Costello said. “We should be proud of ourselves. We gave it everything we had.”
Costello ignited the comeback with five straight points, and Jaida Green capped the surge with a step-back 3-pointer after grabbing a defensive rebound. Costello assisted on the other two baskets, including Lauren Porcelli’s three and Madison Farnsworth’s mid-range jumper.
A three-point play by Batavia’s Hannah Frazier with 14 seconds left put the Bulldogs back ahead. Batavia had a foul to give and stopped the clock with 10 seconds left. North (25-4) missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left before a pair of Liza Fruendt free throws with under a second left sealed the game.
“I knew we weren’t done yet,” North head coach Stephan Bolt said. “We just didn’t have enough to get us over the edge to get us a win, but I’m proud of our kids. I’ve been proud of them all year. I’m proud of the way they fought down to the bitter end and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
North’s season ended on a sour note, but it was an otherwise sweet season. The Trojans claimed their first conference title and won their first regional since 1995-96.
“I think winning conference was the biggest because it was the first time in history,” Green said. “It was something a lot of people, I think, thought we couldn’t do, and we proved them wrong.”
In Bolt’s eyes, this year’s team goes down as the best squad in program history and set the bar he hopes future teams will raise
“We accomplished some things that haven’t been done in a long time,” Bolt said. “We hadn’t won a regional championship in almost 20 years, and for the first time we won a conference championship. It’s a big stepping stone for our program.
“We’ve talked about it for years that we’re going to do this. With kids like Sarah and Sydney [Huggins] and Paula [Gutierrez] and Colleen – the seniors – paving the way for us, and young bright kids like Jaida and Lauren and Peyton [Winters] coming back, it’s giving us a chance to [sustain] this.”