By Randy Whalen
Laila Barakat did just about everything possible to help her team win.
In the end, however, the Stagg sophomore guard’s effort wasn’t quite enough.
Barakat scored a career-high 27 points, but Lockport edged the Chargers, 52-48, in the semifinals of the Class 3A Lockport Regional on Feb. 18.
The loss was Stagg’s seventh by four points or less.
"We've been in a lot of games, a lot of situations," Stagg coach Bill Turner said. "We were young, and we have to learn how to finish these games and make them go the other way around."
The game was close throughout with seven ties and eight lead changes. With the Chargers leading 40-37 after three quarters, Barakat scored four straight points to open the fourth quarter and extend the lead to seven with 6:11 to play. It was the largest lead for either team in the game.
Barakat had all eight of the Chargers’ fourth-quarter points.
"I was just trying to step up and be a leader," said Barakat, who also had five rebounds and four steals, and was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
Porters sophomore guard Elizabeth Sochacki scored all her team-high 14 points in the second half. Her 3-pointer with 2:55 to play gave Lockport a 45-44 lead.
Barakat banged in a pair of free throws with 2:42 to play to put the Chargers ahead 46-45, a minute and a half later and with the score tied at 46, the Porters took the lead for good.
"We had them in the third quarter and going into the fourth," Barakat said. "I'm sad. The energy was high and we had the potential."
Sophomore forward Gail Korbitz contributed 11 points for the Chargers and junior guard Kelsey Dwyer chipped in with seven, all in the first half.
Maeli Sanchez was the only senior starter for Stagg. Jordan Abraham, Raeann Leach, Sarah Mueller, Suaad Rashid, and Samantha Webb were the rest of the Charger seniors.
"There are times in those situations that you just need to slow down and not let the game get away from you," Turner said. "We lost a lot of games like that this season. But next season we will return four starters and a whole heck of a lot of experience."