OLYMPIA FIELDS | Christina Cobbins wasn't in the mood for celebrating because it wasn't the time for celebrating.
Never mind that with Wednesday's 44-34 win over Rich Central, Times No. 3 Crete-Monee guaranteed itself at least a share of the Southland Conference title, a first for the Warriors, Cobbins said, since, "Oh God, I don't know."
Not that it mattered.
"There's no celebrating," she said. "We've got neighborhood rivals the next two games with Rich South and Bloom. They're going to bring their 'A' games.
"There's only one way to do it right, and that's to win out. We're not interested in any splits."
The Warriors (15-5, 8-0) ran away from Rich Central (15-7, 5-3) at the end of the third quarter. After the Olympians, who trailed by as many as nine points in the second quarter and seven in the third, forged a tie at 25, the Warriors went on a 7-1 run to finish the period.
Capping the run was a layup from Marsha Howard, running out to haul in a beautiful outlet pass from Trannika Vance.
As the officials were changing their minds about which team was to get the ball to start the fourth quarter, several fans engaged Howard in some good-natured razzing.
Howard, on her way to game-highs of 16 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and three blocks, gave it right back.
"There's going to be haters everywhere you go," Howard said. "I just told them 'Thanks, I love you, too.'"
Howard didn't let much bother her Wednesday. The same could not be said for the Olympians.
At the 4:33 mark of the fourth quarter, after one of Rich Central's 23 turnovers on the night, Olympians freshman Vivian Imarenezor was whistled for a technical foul. During the ensuing timeout, two Rich Central players appeared to scuffle, and one was escorted from the gym.
"You really don't see that from Rich Central," Cobbins said. "That was out of character for them."
Based on the foul disparity — Crete-Monee was whistled 19 times, Rich Central eight — Cobbins might have been the one complaining.
"The foul situation was horrible, both halves," she said. "But the girls didn't get down. We played through it.
"We had some cracks in our get-up early on, but the girls have it together now."
Lindzy Cox backed up Howard with 10 points for Crete.