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Daniella Mporokoso, Waubonsie Valley Summit Oswego

When things don’t go his way at Waubonsie Valley, which hasn’t happened very often this season, the dynamic sophomore guard Danielle Story He steps directly into the gap to set things right.

That’s why coach Brett Love He doesn’t really get angry.

“These are the things we talk about,” Love said of Mporokoso. “When things aren’t going well, he can put the team on his back and get things done offensively.”

After a slow start for the Warriors in Monday’s Class 4A Oswego East Regional semifinal game against Oswego, Mporokoso did what Love expected.

By scoring his team’s last 11 points in the first quarter, he erased Waubonsie’s 10-point deficit and achieved a 67-43 victory. He became the leader of all scorers with 20 points.

Maya Cobb added 17 points Arianna Garcia Playing against Downers Grove South, which defeated the host Wolves 45-37 for the district championship on Thursday at 7 p.m., the Warriors (28-3) scored 10 points.

Emily Mengrink It trailed Oswego (9-24) by 11 points. Kendall Grant He added 10 points.

Mporokoso grabbed the rebound and started its 11-point run, narrowing the gap to 13-12. He then made four consecutive free throws to give the Warriors a decisive lead.

Grabbing another rebound, Mporokoso hit a three-quarter shot at the buzzer to give Waubonsie a 21-16 lead in the second quarter.

“Your teammates have a lot of energy that excites you,” Mporokoso said. “It was really fun back then.”

Waubonsie Valley’s Danyella Mporokoso (10) scores a layup against Oswego in the Class 4A Oswego East Regional semifinal game on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. (Jon Langham/The Beacon-News)

Mporokoso’s three-pointer to end the first quarter gave the Warriors all the momentum they needed.

“It was pretty cool,” Mporokoso said. “This was the first shot I ever made this way.”

These kinds of runs are what Love has been waiting for, not just the last two seasons but since he started training with Mporokoso in fifth grade.

“He has the power to do it,” Love said. “He’s an actor. He plays at a high level. “It’s great to have him lock in for us and score so many points and help us when we’re struggling.”

However, Oswego came out strong and opened the game with a 10-0 lead. Last season, the Panthers lost two games against the Warriors by 66 and 67 points.

‘We weren’t afraid,’ Oswego coach said Dave Lay aforementioned. “We were not intimidated. We showed our maturity and how much we have improved. We were proud of the way we came out.

“I couldn’t be more proud of how we turned out.”

Waubonsie Valley's Danyella Mporokoso dribbles against Oswego's Emily Mengerink.  Waubonsie Valley defeated Oswego 67-43 in the Class 4A Oswego East Regional semifinal girls basketball game on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, in Oswego, Illinois.  (Photo for Jon Langham/Beacon-News)
Waubonsie Valley’s Danyella Mporokoso (10) dribbles against Oswego’s Emily Mengerink during a Class 4A Oswego East Regional semifinal game on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. (Jon Langham/The Beacon-News)

Despite the slow start, Love didn’t catch a break. She knew Waubonsie could get out of this situation with Mporokoso’s help.

“We weren’t playing like we normally do,” Love said. “Over time, I thought they should get out of this situation and solve the problem themselves, and they did.

“I’m happy with that, but we can’t do that if we want to go further in the play-offs.”

Lay knew Mporokoso’s team would come close even after their hot start.

“He’s one of the best players in the state,” Lay said. “He shot it from the other volleyball line like it was a free throw. “He is incredibly special.”

Waubonsie Valley's Danyella Mporokoso tackles Oswego's Kaelyn Stager for the rebound.  Waubonsie Valley defeated Oswego 67-43 in the Class 4A Oswego East Regional semifinal girls basketball game on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, in Oswego, Illinois.  (Photo for Jon Langham/Beacon-News)
Waubonsie Valley’s Danyella Mporokoso (10) tackles Oswego’s Kaelyn Stager for a rebound during a Class 4A Oswego East Regional semifinal game on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. (Jon Langham/The Beacon-News)

University interest in Mporokoso is also becoming more widespread. Maryland joined the meeting on Monday.

“We always had this plan,” Love said. “We always aimed to play at this level. Now it’s at the point where it’s starting to pay off. I’m very proud of him.”

Mporokoso said although she was nervous, it was exciting to receive this attention.

“I’m not looking at the stands,” Mporokoso said. “Before the game I check where my mother is but that’s it. This is really cool. I’m truly grateful to be in this position. I worked really hard for this.

“Everything pays off.”

Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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