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Girls Basketball: Marian Catholic turns back Marist

Updated: February 14, 2013 6:36AM



Bright lights. Big stage. Who’s going to deliver? Millender and Page.

Junior Ashton Millender scored 21 points, sophomore Teniya Page added 15 and No. 1 Marian Catholic closed the third quarter on a 20-6 run en route to a 59-44 victory over No. 2 Marist in an East Suburban Catholic showdown in front of a packed house Saturday at Marist.

“It was a big game,” Millender said. “We knew a lot of fans would come out. We just wanted to show them that Marian Catholic is hard to beat.”

Sophomore Lizzie Zaleski capped a 7-0 run to give Marist an 18-13 lead with 42.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Marian Catholic answered with a Millender three-pointer from the top of the key and Page’s buzzer-beating layup to tie the score at 18 after eight minutes.

Another three-pointer by Millender gave the Spartans a 26-19 advantage with 3:18 remaining in the second quarter. A basket by junior Brooke Wyderski got the hosts to within 30-26 less than a minute into the third quarter.

Marist would not get any closer.

After Page scored to push the lead to 32-26, Millender scored twice to extend the lead to 36-26 and force a Marist timeout.

The RedHawks couldn’t slow down Millender, who bagged another three-pointer to give the Spartans a 46-30 lead with two minutes remaining in the quarter.

“We were just slow defensively in the first quarter,” Millender said. “We had to pick up our intensity. They played zone a lot. I just had to keep shooting. When I miss a shot, I can’t put my head down. Coach (Annie Byrne) tells me to keep shooting.”

Marist abandoned its zone in favor of a full-court press and closed to within 54-43 on two Wyderski free throws with 5:48 left. Marian scored just three points over the next five minutes and missed the front end of three bonus opportunities, but Marist could not take advantage.

“The kids have really taken great steps the last couple of games against great competition,” Byrne said. “They’re showing signs of maturity and composure. They’ve accepted their roles and are doing a great job of executing.

“We’re preaching the same things, the kids really understand what we’re asking and they do a great job of delivering,” she said. “They stuck with the game plan, executed the way we wanted to and it worked.”

JeTaun Rouse had 17 points, Leah Bolton scored 10 and Hannah Michalek added nine rebounds for Marist (11-6, 1-2), which lost for the fifth time in six games.

“We’re just going through a tough stretch,” Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly said. “We’re playing tough team after tough team after tough team. We just have to keep the faith, believe in what we’re doing and keep working hard. It’ll all come together one of these games.”



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