Girls Basketball: Joliet Catholic runs past Tinley Park
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media January 24, 2013 10:18PM
Joliet Catholic's Trevonya McClain (left) and Brittany Abington (right) battle for the ball with Tinley Park's Lauren Buckwalter during their basketball game in Tinley Park Thursday, January 24, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 26, 2013 6:30AM
As the halftime clock wound down Thursday at Tinley Park, Joliet Catholic coach Ed Schodrof and assistant Chris Smith patiently waited on the bench.
As for the Angels? They still were in the locker room.
“We came out flat (in the first half) and the coaches told us to stay and talk among ourselves,” Joliet Catholic’s Nicole Ekhomu said. “It comes better from each other than the coaches. We had a talk, and we came out and we ran.”
Trailing by a point at halftime, the Angels exploded in the second half with Ekhomu leading the way. The freshman scored 15 points while team defense shut down host Tinley Park in a 54-38 win.
Ekhomu finished with 21 points, while Mary Susan Rouse (13 points) and Jasmine Lumpkin (9 points, 6 rebounds) also played big roles for Joliet Catholic (19-4). The Angels blitzed out of the halftime locker room, turning a 23-22 deficit into a 35-25 lead.
Tinley Park (16-8) answered with its own surge, Caitlin Sudduth scoring five points as part of a 7-0 run. Saddled with four fouls, Ekhomu watched that run from the bench.
After Rouse closed the quarter with a three-pointer, Ekhomu came back in the fourth with a vengeance.
“I was trying to play straight-up defense and help my teammates out,” Ekhomu said. “I was hitting my shots so my teammates were looking for me.”
Were they ever. The freshman opened the fourth with a fast-break layup, hit a corner three-pointer and drilled a pull-up jumper as part of a 9-0 run that put the game away for good. Rouse added a long baseline jumper as part of the run.
“Tinley played great in the first half, and I thought we didn’t,” Schodrof said. “We can’t just play two quarters and expect to beat teams. Tinley gave us everything we could handle, and I thought they would, especially on their home court.”
Sudduth’s 15 points led Tinley Park, with Diamond Beatty scoring 13. The Titans scored just 15 second-half points and managed only six points in the fourth quarter.
Joliet Catholic shot a sizzling 13-of-22 from the field in the second half.
“JCA outlasted us a little bit,” Titans coach Jason Becker said. “Our effort was amazing. We just need to run our offense a little better, hit some shots and be more precise.”