Two teams going in two different directions met Monday at Metea Valley.
No surprise, then, that it was the Mustangs making the plays when it mattered most.
Behind Bria Walker's 18 points and Lori Obendorf's 14 points and 7 rebounds, Metea Valley beat Lake Park 66-52 in Aurora for its sixth win in seven games.
"I think we are definitely on an upswing going into regionals," Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas said. "This is the time of year you want to be playing your best."
Metea (14-12, 6-6 Upstate Eight Valley) in particular finished quarters well.
Lake Park's Alexis Hahn hit 2 technical free throws to cut Metea's lead to 25-23 with 26 seconds left in the first half, but Obendorf got a steal and score. The Mustangs got the ball back, and Kelee Clay threw in a top-of-the-key 3-pointer as time expired.
The Mustangs also scored the last 4 points of the third quarter after Lake Park drew within 38-37. In the final quarter, with the margin 54-47 and two minutes left, Walker got three straight steals in the Lancers' backcourt, two of them cashed into layups.
"We had a lot of motivation we wanted to win this one for our seniors," said Walker, one of four Metea junior starters. "We've been playing well and want to keep it going."
The miscues are, unfortunately, nothing new to Lake Park (8-17, 2-10), which lost its eighth straight. On Saturday the Lancers led South Elgin by 2 after three quarters, then were outscored 26-13 in the fourth.
"That's been our story," Lake Park coach Andrea Miller said. "I think we are improving and doing a lot of good things. But then we turn around and shoot ourselves in the foot. We've been hanging around, but we're making just enough mistakes to lose games."
Hahn, who scored a season-high 31 points Saturday, followed that up with a 25-point effort Monday. A personal 7-0 Hahn run got the Lancers within 38-37 with 58 seconds left in the third quarter, but she went to the bench shortly thereafter and Metea ran off its 4 quick points.
Alyssa Hernandez added 12 points for Lake Park.
"We have good chemistry, and the girls are all friends," Hahn said, "but it's been frustrating. I don't base my success off awards or numbers. I'd rather set up my teammates and get the win."
Metea had great balance, with Anna Petersen scoring 12 points, Megan Geldernick and Amira Turner pulling down 12 rebounds. They also hit 19-of-22 free throws, Walker making all 8 of her attempts. Metea's 66 points were a season-high.
"They're all coming into their own and gaining that confidence," Kalivas said. "When we are firing on all cylinders we can be tough to guard."