STREATOR — For the opening two and a half quarters Wednesday, the Streator Lady Bulldogs saw what kind of offensive team they can be when they can get into their half-court offense without constant, hounding defensive pressure.
For the final 12 minutes of game clock, the Dwight Lady Trojans showed the Lady 'Dogs they'll need to solve their problem with backcourt pressure if they want to enjoy that frontcourt success.
Streator's girls were efficient, took care of the basketball and led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter here Wednesday at the Pops before visiting Dwight turned up the heat, forcing 24 second-half turnovers and inching ever-closer before pulling away in the closing minute for a come-from-behind, 44-40 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
Streator center Natali Haynes posted a triple-double of all game-highs: 28 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. Wing and fellow sophomore Dezirea Jordan added eight points and five rebounds, Chloe Baker two points with six rebounds and point guard Lyniah Anderson two points and team-highs of five assists and four steals before fouling out with 5:40 remaining, but it wasn't enough to hold off Dwight or offset Streator's 33 costly turnovers.
"You know, same thing," said SHS coach Beau Albert. "We've been working on (handling full-court pressure), and we've been getting better at it, but too many consecutive turnovers lets a team get on a run and get momentum.
"We've got to find a way to stop it or every team is going to do it to us. ... We've got to figure it out or it'll be a long, hard season with everybody pressing us."
Streator (3-5), which committed just three turnovers in the opening quarter and nine by the halftime break, used a nice interior game featuring Anderson working outside, Jordan in the mid-range and Haynes in the paint to take a 13-12 lead on a Haynes turnaround jumper 13 seconds into the second quarte. SHS held that advantage for the next 19 minutes, 7 seconds of game clock.
"Natali has been unbelievable," said Albert. "If we can get into our half-court offense, we feel pretty good about the people we have who can touch it down low."
The Lady Bulldogs led 23-15 at halftime and 30-19 toward the close of the third quarter.
Dwight (2-3), which until that point had been content matching up in a half-court game with its hosts, flicked on the pressure late in the third, and as if it were a light switch, everything changed in an instant. The Lady Trojans became the aggressors on both sides of the floor, with senior wing Melissa Stewart taking over the contest, scoring Dwight's first 11 fourth-quarter points and finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds and a game-best seven steals.
"Turning up the pressure was the complete difference in the ballgame," said Dwight coach Jeff Froelich. "We gave them a double-digit lead, but the kids turned it on and came back and had to bust their butts, and they did a good job. I was proud of them. ...
"(Stewart) has that ability (to take a game over), and I would say this (fourth quarter) was the best quarter she's played all year."
The Lady 'Dogs managed to halt Dwight's momentum and briefly recapture the lead at 40-38 on a pair of Haynes free throws with 59 seconds remaining. Dwight, though, tied it with two Chloe Butterbrodt free throws on two separate trips to the charity stripe and took the lead for good on senior Melissa Stewart's game-winning putback of a missed free throw with 21 ticks remaining.
Streator's 33rd and final turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass and two good Kayla Kodat (12 points, four steals) free throws at the other end sealed the deal for Dwight.
Streator is set to return to action Friday with a 5:30 p.m. varsity tip at Manteno, ahead of the boys game at 7.
At Pops Dale Gymnasium, Streator
Dwight 44, Streator 40
(Key: FG FT-FTA TP)
DWIGHT (44) — Butterbrodt 0 2-4 2, Kodat 4 3-6 12, Farris 0 2-6 2, Stewart 10 5-6 26, Carlson 1 0-2 2, Weissman 0 0-0 0, Beier 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 12-24 44.
STREATOR (40) — Anderson 1 0-0 2, Jordan 4 0-0 8, Rogers 0 0-0 0, Baker 1 0-0 2, Haynes 10 8-13 28, Phillis 0 0-0 0, Ingram 0 0-0 0, Perez 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 8-13 40.
Dwight (2-3) 12 3 10 19 — 44
Streator (3-5) 11 12 9 8 — 40
3-point goals - Dwight 2 (Kodat 1, Stewart 1); Streator 0. Rebounds - Dwight 34 (Stewart 8, Butterbrodt 6); Streator 47 (Haynes 18, Anderson 6, Baker 6). Assists - Dwight 5 (Kodat 3); Streator 10 (Anderson 5). Steals - Dwight 17 (Stewart 7, Kodat 4, Farris 4); Streator 5 (Anderson 4). Blocked shots - Dwight 1 (Stewart 1); Streator 10 (Haynes 10). Turnovers - Dwight 10; Streator 33. Total fouls (fouled out) - Dwight 11; Streator 18 (Anderson, Baker).