Late run by Chatham-Glenwood dashes Highland girls’ state tournament dreams

All they needed were a couple of more shots to fall and a couple more breaks to go their way and the Highland girls basketball team would be on the way to its second state tournament in program history.

On Monday night, Chatham-Glenwood stole the Bulldog state tournament dreams. The Titans outscored Highland 6-1 in the final 2:40 of play, claiming a 45-38 victory in a Class 3A Super Sectional at Highland High School.

Chatham-Glenwood (27-7) will face Darien Hinsdale South on Friday at 9:30 in an IHSA Class 3A semifinal matchup at CEFCU Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.

It was a disappointing outcome for Highland as the Bulldogs saw their season end one win short of a Class 3A state berth at 25-11.

“They took a lot of things away from us that we like to do and they pressured really, well and they were physical and a lot of that credit goes to them,” Highland coach Clint Hamilton said. “They executed their game plan were more physical and they were the more aggressive team tonight.”

In a defensive first quarter, Highland grabbed an 11-7 lead late in the quarter thanks to an Abby Schultz putback two and a pair of Lauren Maas free throws.

A 7-0 run keyed by an Alexis Neumann 3-pointer got the Titans out to a 22-15 lead in the second quarter but a Maas bucket in the closing seconds of the second quarter cut the lead to 22-20 at the half. Neumann, one of Glenwood’s three standout freshmen, pumped in 12 points.

“Lauren kind of went on a little 4- or 5-point run of her own and got a couple of steals in transition. She kind of got us going late in the half,” Hamilton said. “You’re down seven and you get down two and you kind of feel like you’ve got a chance to make a move.”

Glenwood turned that tide and came out hot in the third quarter using a 12-3 run capped by a Hope Gilmore inside two, taking a 35-23 lead with just under three minutes left in the quarter. Gilmore, freshman forward had a strong night off the bench with nine points.

“Unfortunately, the third quarter kind of started like that second quarter and we put ourselves in a hole again,” Hamilton said.

Highland rallied once again as the Bulldogs pulled within 39-37 on a Larissa Taylor lay-in with 3:41 left to go.

After that basket, the Bulldogs’ offense stalled as Chatham’s defense locked down, and the Titans knocked four down free throws and a Gilmore basket in the final moments, denying the Bulldogs their shot at the program’s second state tournament appearance.

“We gave ourselves a chance and got back in it but unfortunately late we had to foul and the free-throws just weren’t on our side,” Hamilton said.

The night also ended up being the final game for seniors Taylor, Maas, and Abby Schultz. The trio led HHS to back-to-back Mississippi Valley Conference titles, two regional championships, and two sectional championships as juniors and seniors.

Hamilton lauded the contributions of his three seniors.

“That sophomore group started 8-24 and it’s just a testament to how hard they work and them buying into our system and winning the back-to-back sectional titles, which has never been done in school history. Just leaving a legacy that hopefully our younger kids can see how much work goes into this thing and we can kind of keep it rolling,” Hamilton said.

Maas led Highland with 17 points.