On any given night, there are a handful of shooters on the Page Lady Patriots roster who can step up and drop 20 points to provide a boost for the team. On Tuesday night, it was sophomore guard Lili Wilken’s turn to play the role.
Wilken scored a team-best 21 points to lift the Lady Patriots (15-1, 6-1 11-AAA) to a 46-38 victory over the visiting Summit Lady Spartans on Jan. 14.
She got help from fellow sophomore guard McKenzie Cochran, who added 14 points in the winning effort.
“Lili hit a little bit of a lull midseason but she’s really turned it on lately and she made some big shots tonight,” Page head coach Ron Brock said.
Trailing by two points at halftime, Page switched things up on defense and went on a 9-0 run to open up the third quarter to swing the momentum in their favor. The Lady Patriots held the Spartans to just three third quarter points and took a 34-24 lead, their largest lead of the night, into the final eight minutes of play.
That lead was short-lived as the Lady Spartans regained their footing and slowly mounted a comeback throughout the fourth quarter, cutting their deficit down to three points with 1:55 remaining in the contest.
But after killing almost a minute on the ensuing possession, forcing the Lady Spartans to foul and put Page’s shooters on the charity stripe, the Lady Patriots converted five of six free throw attempts in the final minute to secure an eight-point victory.
In the end, stingy defense and timely rebounds were enough to give Page the ‘W’ on a night where the offense wasn’t all there. It also helped that Page, after committing 10 turnovers in the first half, cut that number down to three over the last two quarters.
“If you can play great defense and you can always rebound the basketball, then those games that normally get away from you can turn into wins in close games,” Brock said. “That was the key for us tonight."
It’s the Lady Patriots’ third straight victory after suffering their only loss of the season to Brentwood on Jan. 3. For the Lady Spartans (8-7, 3-4 11-AAA), that’s back-to-back district losses after losing to Independence on Jan. 10.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday night, with Page taking on Centennial at home and Summit hosting Dickson County in a pair of district games.