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Paul Johnson’s girls basketball notebook

01/28/2014, 5:24pm CST
By Paul Johnson

Check out Paul Johnson’s girls basketball notebook with information from the Aurora area.

The Oswego girls basketball team started the season 1-3 and stood at 4-5 after dropping the first two games of its holiday tournament in December.

Since then, however, the Panthers have been on a tear. They won 11 of their next 12 games before Saturday’s narrow nonconference loss to Lincoln-Way East. They are a perfect 9-0 in the Southwest Prairie Conference and 15-7 overall, eyeing a top-four seed when the sectional assignments are announced next Friday.

“We’ve had a nice little run,” Oswego coach Chad Pohlmann said. “We’ve improved and started playing with a lot more confidence. We broke through offensively and the girls found their rhythm.”

It sounded so simple, but when Pohlmann was asked what helped spark the turnaround, he noted they started making shots.

“They just stepped up and started making plays,” Pohlmann said. “Our team defense has always been there and shots started dropping. We just started to play better on offense. That allows us to set up our defense. It was just a matter of being able to finally feel comfortable and gain confidence.”

Pohlmann pointed to Erin Sinnott and Amri Wilder in particular, saying that both are angling to become the conference’s player of the year.

The Panthers have played the last three games without Kelsey Nelson, who is nursing an ankle injury. Pohlmann said there is a chance she could play Friday against Plainfield Central.

The big game on the schedule figures to be the day after the sectional seeds are announced — a 5 p.m. tilt at rival Oswego East on Friday, Feb. 7. Oswego handed the Wolves their lone SPC loss this season. An Oswego win would go a long way toward a conference title.

Tuesday’s postponed game at Plainfield North has been moved to Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Next Tuesday’s game at Romeoville will be the first half of a girls/boys doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.

Finish strong

Aurora Christian’s Suburban Christian Gold title hopes took a hit with Saturday’s 43-39 loss to Marian Central, but the Eagles are in a position to finish strong for the second straight season.

Last year was a historic one for the Eagles, setting a program record with 19 wins, winning their first regional title and winning a share of the SCC Gold.

After last week’s win over Rosary, the first time the program ever beat the Royals, Aurora Christian was tied with Immaculate Conception and Wheaton Academy at 4-2 in the Gold Division, with games against both still on the horizon. So despite the Marian loss, the Eagles still have a shot.

“It’s going to be a showdown just like last year,” Aurora Christian coach Jerry Tokars said. “A lot of teams are in the hunt. We have a good conference, a lot of balance in this conference.”

Tourney wrapup

After barreling through the Little Ten Conference regular season a perfect 8-0 and reaching the finals of the conference tournament, Newark finally suffered a setback.

The Norsemen dropped a heartbreaker to Serena in the tournament finale 47-46 behind 15 points from Kristine Zitt. Newark now awaits the state seeding information for Class 1A and 2A schools, which will be announced Thursday.

Plano finished sixth at the Interstate Eight Tournament, with senior center Clarisa Martinez earning all-tournament honors.

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