(Sugar Grove, IL.) – It probably felt a little like déjà vu all over again for the College of Lake County. Waubonsee's Maddie Kawall connected on a pair of clutch three-pointers in the final minute to propel the Chiefs to a 61-56 victory over the visiting Lancers. The sophomore guard, who along with six of her teammates were honored in a pre-game ceremony before their final regular season home game, hit a game-winning three-point buzzer beater the last time the teams met in Grayslake three weeks ago. Kawall's heroics this time clinched a third-place finish for the Chiefs (17-11, 9-4) in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference standings with one game remaining.
Lake County (15-14, 3-10) took an early lead 10-4 before the Chiefs rebounded to grab a 12-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Waubonsee then gradually built an eight-point lead (25-17) and seemed poised to break the game open. However, the Lancers scored eight straight over the final two minutes of the second quarter to tie the game heading into halftime. The Chiefs came out of the locker room with a renewed focus and out scored Lake County 18-9 in the third period to get the upper hand. Once again the Lancers responded and battled back to take the lead 52-50 with three minutes left.
Waubonsee still trailed by a point with under a minute to go when Kawall drilled a trey from the top of the key to put the Chiefs back in front. A pair of free throws by the Lancers' All-American candidate Hannah Raupach with 0:37 remaining tied the game. On the Chiefs' ensuing possession Kawall nailed another three-pointer from almost the same spot on the floor as the previous one for a 57-54 Waubonsee lead. After a Lake County timeout Raupach quickly answered with a driving lay-up to make it a one-point game with 0:19 to go. Free throws by Alexia Nicolai and Kayla Battle in the final seconds then clinched Waubonsee's 17th win of the season.
Every Chiefs player dented the scoring column. Kawall finished with 14 points to lead Waubonsee in scoring, while also grabbing seven rebounds. Battle nearly posted a double double by tallying nine points and snagging nine rebounds to go along with four assists. Jasmine Shepard contributed eight points and hauled down eight boards, and Tatyanna Smith chipped in with seven points and six rebounds. Hayley Farren added six points and four assists, and Katie Beebe booked six points and five rebounds.
Lake County's Raupach, who came into the game leading the nation with 121 blocks and was second among all NJCAA Division II players in rebounds, had a monster game. The 6'0" sophomore led all scorers with 28 points to go along with 26 rebounds, three assists, four blocks and a steal. In four games against the Chiefs the last two seasons she scored a combined 56 points, grabbed 68 rebounds, handed out 23 assists, blocked 17 shots and made 10 steals.
The Chiefs wrap up the regular season this Saturday, February 23 when they travel to south suburban Palos Hills to take on nationally ranked Moraine Valley Community College. Jim Williams' women's team set to play the third-ranked Cyclones (28-1, 13-0) beginning at noon. The men's contest will commence at 2:00 p.m. The seeding meeting for the upcoming Region IV Division II Tournament is slated for Sunday, February 24. Both teams will then find out whom they will play, as well as where and when in the first round of the tournament. Waubonsee is the host site for the semi-finals and championship games on March 2, 3 and 9. All the games each of those days can be seen 'live' on-line at www.GoChiefs.com