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Wentling’s 8 3-pointers lift South Elgin
By Craig Brueske | Daily Herald Correspondent

South Elgin’s Laura McIntosh puts up a shot over Batavia’s Hannah Frazier during Thursday’s game in South Elgin.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

South Elgin’s Savanah Uveges scores on a runner during Thursday’s game against Batavia in South Elgin.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

Batavia’s Erin Bayram shoots over a pair of South Elgin defenders during Thursday’s game in South Elgin.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

Batavia’s Grace Andrews shoots over South Elgin’s Savanah Uveges during Thursday’s game in South Elgin.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

Batavia’s Jenny Welday is pressured by South Elgin’s Nadia Yang during Thursday’s game in South Elgin.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 2/7/2013 11:50 PM

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Through 3 quarters, South Elgin’s girls basketball team struggled to do much of anything offensively and trailed Batavia, 40-29.

Then the Storm (16-10) finally found a hot hand in Nell Wentling.

The 5-7 senior guard hit 3 fourth-quarter 3-point baskets to help force overtime and added her career-best eighth 3-pointer of the game — and 50th of the season — during the extra session as South Elgin rallied to defeat Batavia 61-56 in Thursday night’s Upstate Eight Conference crossover fourth-place game in South Elgin.

Wentling, who scored 15 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and 4-minute overtime, made a few lasting memories while playing in the final home game of her high school career.

“It was a fun game to go out with,” said Wentling, who made 8 of her 12 3-point attempts. “I’m on top of the world right now. I think maybe five (3-pointers) was my high before.”

South Elgin misfired on its first 6 shots and fell behind 10-0 in the first 5 minutes of the contest, as Batavia senior guard Miranda Grizaffi (10 points, 7 rebounds) connected on a pair of 3-pointers.

That was when Storm coach Tim Prendergast summoned Wentling off the bench, and she quickly contributed with three 3-pointers to trim the Bulldogs’ first-quarter lead to 14-11.

“We were just cold but Nell got us back in it early,” said Prendergast. “At halftime, I told the girls that ‘we’ve got 18 points here and nine of them are from Nell’s 3-pointers.’ We were getting a lot of good looks in the first half but nobody was hitting.”

Batavia (18-10), which led 25-18 at halftime, opened a 36-21 lead midway through the third quarter behind the efforts of 6-2 junior forward/center Erin Bayram (17 points, 7 rebounds), 6-1 freshman forward Hannah Frazier (12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocked shots), and senior guard Sami Villarreal (6 points, 6 rebounds).

“They started going to their bigs and we kept treading water,” said Prendergast. “We couldn’t gain any ground on them.”

Batavia maintained its double-digit advantage after 3 quarters and appeared to be on its way to its sixth win in 7 games before being outscored 21-10 in the fourth period.

“I felt like we were kind of in control for three quarters and then it was almost like it wore us down a little bit,” said Batavia coach Kevin Jensen, whose team played the majority of the way without the services of junior leading scorer Liza Fruendt (illness).

“We ran out of gas a little bit there,” added Jensen, whose team opens Class 4A regional action Tuesday at St. Charles East.

Batavia led 47-39 with 3 minutes left in regulation before back-to-back 3-pointers by Delaney Kelleher (11 points) and Wentling made it 47-45 with 1:37 remaining.

Junior guard Savanah Uveges’ 3-point play with 1:05 left gave South Elgin its first lead of the night, 48-47, but Frazier split a pair of free throws and Grizaffi buried a short jumper to put Batavia back on top, 50-48, with 41 seconds remaining.

Uveges (13 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals) sent the game into overtime with her free throw with 8 seconds remaining.

Kelleher’s 3-point play put the Storm in front for good during the first minute of overtime, and Wentling tallied the next 6 points for the victors.

“She couldn’t miss,” Jensen said of Wentling. “We tried to do some things to combat it but we just lost her too many times.”

“The team with the momentum going into overtime usually wins the game,” said Prendergast, whose second-seeded team faces the Elgin-Larkin winner Tuesday at the Streamwood regional. “What an exciting game and what a game to end the regular season with.”