Girls Basketball: Joliet Catholic withstands Batavia
By Matt Le Cren For Sun-Times Media January 20, 2014 4:56PM
Joliet Catholic's Nicole Ekhomu shoots a jumper against Batavia. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 20, 2014 9:51PM
Jasmine Lumpkin and her Joliet Catholic teammates hand their hands full Monday with upset-minded Batavia.
In the end, though, the game ended the way every other game has this year for Joliet Catholic: with a victory.
Lumpkin had an outstanding all-around effort with 17 points and 18 rebounds while spending most of the game guarding Batavia star Liza Fruendt, and Nicole Ekhomu added 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists as the Angels won 63-55 at the Willowbrook McDonald’s Prep Shootout.
Afterward, a relieved Lumpkin gave props to the Bulldogs.
“They’re very competitive and they didn’t fold at all,” Lumpkin said. “I think they brought their best game so it was a good win for us.”
In one of the most intriguing match-ups of the season, the Michigan State-bound Lumpkin was assigned to cover Fruendt, who last week became Batavia’s all-time leading scorer, then scored a school-record 51 points Friday in a win over rival Geneva.
Fruendt, a Missouri State recruit, entered the game with 1,694 career points and had 22 Monday on 8-of-25 shooting. She was only 2-of-11 in the first half as the Angels (19-0) took a 34-25 lead.
“I just tried to stay on her,” Lumpkin said. “We had a plan where I just shadowed her the whole game. I didn’t help at all (on anyone else) and she’s a great player. I was pretty tired from guarding her but I’m glad we held her to less points.”
Fruendt heated up after halftime, drilling three three-pointers and scoring Batavia’s first 13 points of the third quarter. She then fed Hannah Frazier for a jumper that pulled the Bulldogs (14-6) to within 43-40.
Frazier, a 6-2 forward, was dominant inside, finishing with a career-high 25 points to go with 16 rebounds. She was the recipient of all of Fruendt’s four assists.
“I thought Hannah Frazier played very well for us,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. “I told her there was still a lot of meat left on the bone for her as far as points and rebounds.”
No other Bulldog scored more than four points, and the Angels used their transition game to extend the lead in the fourth quarter and force Fruendt into taking tough shots.
“When Lumpkin was guarding her that was the best athlete that’s guarded her all year and probably will guard her all year,” Jensen said. “She was able to get open a little in the second half but the more we do with her off the ball, with her running off screens, sometimes almost wears her out more.
“But it was a fun one. I might be sweatier than most of the players out there after that.”
Ty Battle scored eight points for Joliet Catholic, while Mia Farrell added six, including a big three in the third quarter, and Jnaya Walker had five points and seven boards.
“I think the whole team contributed, which was great,” Lumpkin said. “It’s exciting, but we can’t be satisfied or settle. We have to keep getting better because we’re going to come against more competition and we have a target on our backs.”
As for Fruendt, she was impressed with her team battled.
“In the beginning everybody was just so focused and locked in,” she said. “You could just tell we came ready to play. I think as the game went on, we stayed that way even as we fell behind.”