Girls Basketball: Marian wins state title in dramatic fashion
By Tony Baranek email@example.com March 2, 2013 10:46PM
Marian Catholic teammates hoist the Class 4A championship trophy after defeating Rolling Meadows 48-47 at Redbird Arena Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Normal. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2013 11:16PM
NORMAL — She didn’t know how many seconds were left.
She only knew there was a sense of urgency.
There was most definitely no time to waste when Marian Catholic sophomore Kauai Bradley scooped up the rebound after the second last-chance shot went awry in the closing seconds of Saturday night’s Class 4A title game against Rolling Meadows.
Bradley went back up. And with less than a second remaining, the ball rolled in. Marian was a 48-47 state champion.
“I was getting that rebound for my team,” a jubilant Bradley said. “My thought process was just to put it back up and hope it went in. When it was rolling, I didn’t think it was going to go in. But when it dropped, I was like, ‘Yes!’ ”
Teniya Page finished with 13 points, Ashton Millender 12 points, Megan Walsh eight points and eight rebounds and Bradley five points and 11 rebounds as Marian (33-1) captured its first state title.
Rolling Meadows (30-4) was led by Alexis Glasgow (24 points) and Jenny Vliet (12 points).
“This feels amazing,” Walsh said. “I can’t believe we won (during the playoffs) on two buzzer-beating shots.”
The Spartans’ winning effort put the happiest ending on a story that going into the weekend had fairy tale potential.
On Friday the Spartans beat Young in the semifinals, gaining a measure of revenge for losing to the Dolphins in three straight supersectionals from 2009-11.
The victory over Rolling Meadows brought redemption for their only loss of the season, a 61-55 decision to the Mustangs at the Montini Christmas tournament.
The Spartans wanted it, and got it all.
“This feels great. I love this team,” said Millender, who hit a 25-foot shot at the buzzer in the sectional final against Marist. “We never gave up tonight.”
Marian’s previous best finish was second place in Class AA in 2001-02 under Shannon Reidy.
Much like in Friday night’s game, the Spartans struggled offensively at the start, going 1-for-7 from the field. Rolling Meadows scored on its first two possessions to go up 4-0, but also was streaky shooting.
The Mustangs led 8-7 before Marian closed the first quarter strongly. Page hit a lean-in jumper, Melanie Ransom converted a layup on a pass from Walsh, and in the final sequence Bradley blocked a shot by Rolling Meadows, grabbed the rebound and fed Millender for what would be a mad dash to the basket.
The Spartans led 18-10 after a putback by Walsh before the Mustangs rallied back on a three-pointer by Glasgow, a free throw by Vliet and a putback by Morgan Keller.
It was 20-18 Marian with a couple of minutes remaining in the half when Walsh converted on a pass from Millender, fed Brianna Narcissi for a three, and grabbed a rebound that led to a pullup jumper by Millender to finish a 7-0 close to the half.
Momentum, however, was fleeting.
Myriad missed shots at the start of the third period allowed Rolling Meadows a chance to rally, and the Mustangs did, running off 10 straight points, Glasgow providing back-to-back a three-point play and a three-pointer. Glasgow later hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to make it 38-35 heading into the fourth period.
The final eight minutes played out in dramatic fashion. Marian led 46-45 after a free throw by Millender, but Rolling Meadows responded with just 26 ticks remaining on a toss-in that Vliet banked in.
The final play by Marian saw two missed shots by the Spartans before Bradley made her big play.
“That was a great out of bounds (play) by Rolling Meadows, man,” Marian coach Annie Byrne said. “I didn’t expect them to go inside. Then we ran a play with a couple of options that I thought would be good. And the kids just stuck with it.”
Young 60, Huntley 27: Young (28-4) rebounded from Friday’s loss to Marian Catholic by pounding Huntley in the third-place game behind Linnae Harper (27 points), Madinah Muhammad (11 points) and Tanita Allen (10 points, 9 rebounds). Ali Andrews had nine points for Huntley (26-8).
Quincy Notre Dame 62, Vernon Hills 45: Notre Dame (30-0) outscored Vernon Hills 21-10 in the fourth quarter, completing its perfect season. The leading scorers for the Raiders were Kassidy Gengenbacher (20 points), Kristen Gengenbacher (14 points) and Jordan Frericks (14 points). Vernon Hills (31-3) was paced by Lauren Webb (17 points).
Montini 42, Morton 38: Montini (35-2) won the third-place contest behind Kelly Karlis 911 points) and Pauline Castro (9 points). Sarah Livingston had 16 points for Morton (30-6).
Queen of the Hill: Senior Kamari Jordan of Bolingbrook finished second in the IHSA Queen of the Hill three-point shooting competition Saturday at Redbird Arena in Normal. Jordan, the Class 4A champion, made 7 of 15 shots, one less than Class 2A titlist Katie Poe of Cumberland.Jordan advanced to the finals after making 8 of 15 shots in the Class 4A competition on Friday, beating Alexis Glasgow of Rolling Meadows (7), Kendall Detweiler of Grayslake North (6) and Rachel Ruzevich of Sandburg (5).