Sandburg players celebrate their Class 4A regional championship after defeating Romeoville in overtime on Feb. 15. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Sandburg players celebrate their Class 4A regional championship after defeating Romeoville in overtime on Feb. 15. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Girls Basketball | Sandburg outlasts Romeoville for first regional crown since 2016

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By Xavier Sanchez
Correspondent

It was the Eagles’ game to win and no one was going to change the outcome.

On its home floor against a Romeoville team that had not lost this year, Sandburg used overtime to defeat the Spartans, 62-58, on Feb. 15 for the Class 4A Sandburg Regional title. It is the Eagles’ first regional championship since 2016.

“It was our game, so we stuck to that motto and kept grinding,” said Eagles sophomore guard Zoe Trunk, one of several players — including her sister, Olivia — who had big moments and big games in the win.

Zoe Trunk scored five of Sandburg’s eight overtime points. She finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

Olivia Trunk hit two free-throws with 13.7 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, then hit the go-ahead free-throw in overtime. The senior finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

The victory gave Sandburg (19-14) a date with SouthWest Suburban Blue rival Lincoln-Way East (27-5) at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in the semifinals of the Joliet West Sectional. It will be the fifth meeting this season between the Eagles and Griffins, with the latter winning all four games by an average of 28.5 points.

In the regional final, Romeoville came in 28-3 and riding a 13-game winning streak that went back to 2023. The game was tied at 26 at the end of the first half, and Sandburg led by six heading into the fourth quarter.

Noor Ali led the Eagles with 19 points.

“This group of girls care about each other,” Ali said of Sandburg. “They care about what we’re doing together and it showed. And that’s how we were able to do it.”

Juliana Paddock had eight points and 10 rebounds.

“We had teams in the past that have got to the regional championship but weren’t able to follow through and win it, so to actually get this one feels good,” Paddock said.

Eagles head coach Nick Fotopoulos noted Paddock sustained two ACL tears during her time at Sandburg.

“I am so happy for her and proud of her,” he said. “She worked so hard at it.”

GirlsBball Sandburg Romeoville scaled e1708416141127

Sandburg’s Noor Ali drives past a Romeoville defender during the Eagles regional championship game victory. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Sandburg was without one of its top scorers, Annie Driscoll, who was injured in the regional semifinals against T.F. North.

Romeoville’s Jadea Johnson scored 17 points in the first half, but had only one in the second half and fouled out in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans’ Laila Houseworth led all scorers with 23 points and reached 1,000 career points during the game. Emily Gabrelcik had 14 points, including three fourth-quarter 3-pointers.

Houseworth hit three free throws to tie the game at 57 in overtime, but fouled out minutes later.

Ali hit multiple big buckets for the Eagles.

“When the big moment came around, she was there,” Olivia Trunk said.

“I was just feeling it,” Ali added.

The big-time plays by the Trunk sisters were nothing new.

“They have hit big shots for us all year long,” Ali said. “They are the glue that keeps the team together.”

The sisters enjoy this opportunity of playing on the same team.

“It’s sick,” Olivia said. “Actually so cool”

“Definitely my favorite part of basketball,” added Zoe.

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