Page High School senior Olivia Wilson was the star of the game Tuesday night, but it was one of her teammates who stole the show.
And that suited Wilson just fine.
Although Wilson scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Lady Patriots to a 61-27 home victory over Ravenwood, the game’s most memorable moments belonged to senior Claire Nehrenz.
Nehrenz, who has been the team’s manager for the past four seasons, was in the starting lineup for the Lady Patriots (22-2, 13-2 in District 11-AAA) on senior night, and she rose to the occasion by scoring the first and last baskets of the game.
“To see her get in the game was a really big deal, and then for her to score — twice — was just awesome,” said a smiling Wilson about her special-needs teammate and friend. “I know she was super excited about getting to play tonight because she hasn’t stopped talking about it since the season started.”
All three Page seniors — Wilson, Kayla Whitehead and Nehrenz — contributed heavily to the victory. Wilson scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half to help Page blow open a tight game, and Whitehead finished with eight rebounds and four points. And then there was Nehrenz, whose two baskets served as unforgettable bookends to the game.
“It was a great moment,” said Page coach Ron Brock.
McKenzie Cochran finished with 13 points and Delaney Noe and Lili Wilken had eight points each for the Lady Patriots, who owned a shaky 28-21 lead near the midway mark of the third quarter before putting together a 12-0 run to stretch the margin to 40-21. Wilken and Cochran each hits 3s during the surge, and Wilson scored nine points in the quarter.
Page then padded the lead with a dominating fourth quarter, outscoring Ravenwood, 21-4.
Lexi Erickson and Reghan Grimes scored eight points each to pace the Lady Raptors (12-12, 7-8), who were limited to single-digit scoring in the second, third and fourth quarters.
“Page does a great job with their match-up zone, and we had a lot of trouble with it,” said Ravenwood coach Andrew James. “We were hanging in there, and then all of the sudden, we couldn’t score — and when that happens, it hurts your defense, too.”
Thomas Seaman’s night went from solid to super to sublime — all in the span of four minutes.
Page’s third-quarter scoring run was typical for the Lady Patriots, who showcase tremendous “spurt-ability.” They can completely change a game — either by transforming a deficit into a lead or by turning a close game into a lopsided score — as quickly as any team in the district.
“We definitely feed off each other,” said Wilson about the Lady Patriots, who outscored Ravenwood 40-11 in the second half. “Usually, when one person gets going, we all get going.”
It was a night of high emotion for the Lady Patriots right from the beginning, as Nehrenz joined the starting lineup to help celebrate senior night.
On Page’s opening possession, all 10 players on the floor executed a scripted play that led to an open shot for Nehrenz. After she missed a jumper on her first attempt, Nehrenz connected on her second try. The Page fans erupted and so did the bench.
On Ravenwood’s ensuing possession, the Lady Raptors scored an intentionally-uncontested basket to tie the game at 2-2.
“Ravenwood was very gracious in terms of allowing us to give her (Nehrenz) the chance to participate in tonight’s game,” said Brock. “I give them tons of love for the way they handled it. It was a great thing — and it couldn’t have happened without them being on board with it.”
Nehrenz, by the way, wasn’t satisfied with just the opening bucket.
In the closing moments of the fourth quarter, with Page comfortably in front, Nehrenz re-entered the game. Seconds later, Nehrenz found herself open again — this time, on a less-scripted play — and she dropped in another jumper.
“She’s money,” said Wilson, smiling again.
Page girls 61, Ravenwood 27
RHS – 11 5 7 4 — 27
PHS – 13 8 19 21 — 61
RHS (27) – Chazmin Brown 2, Lexi Erickson 8, Rachel Hillman 3, Elizabeth Flynn 2, Reghan Grimes 8, Mary Prestegaard 2, Ella Craig 2.
PHS (61) – Braley Bushman 2, Lili Wilken 8, McKenzie Cochran 13, Abigail Ward 3, Delaney Noe 8, Kayla Whitehead 4, Olivia Wilson 19, Claire Nehrenz 4.
3-pointers — Ravenwood 3 (Erickson 2, Hillman), Page 5 (Wilken 2, Cochran, Ward, Wilson). Free throws — Ravenwood 4-6, Page 6-8.