Girls Basketball: Marian Catholic reaping Sweet 16 rewards
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org January 28, 2013 9:14PM
Updated: March 1, 2013 7:59PM
The 2013 edition of the Sweet 16 Tournament couldn’t have been much sweeter for Marian Catholic, which swept all four games to claim the title.
The Spartans finished their mission Saturday, beating Barrington 60-40 behind 16 points from Ashton Millender, then defeating New Trier 63-38 as Millender had 23 points.
“We lost to New Trier last year (58-53) so I was very happy to get a big win this year,” Marian coach Annie Byrne said. “I scouted (New Trier) earlier in the day, and they’re young but talented.”
The No. 1 Spartans also claimed Sweet 16 victories over Trinity and Maine South. They entered the week at 23-1, their only loss a 61-55 decision to Rolling Meadows at the Montini Christmas Tournament. Among the ranked teams they’ve conquered are Lincoln-Way East, Mother McAuley, Marist and Bolingbrook.
“Any time you make a schedule with great competition it’s a challenge for the team,” Byrne said. “I think if you want to be the best you have to play the best.”
Millender, a junior guard, is among the area scoring leaders at 15.0 points per game. Sophomore Teniya Page is averaging 13.6 points and 3.9 assists, and senior Megan Walsh 9.3 points and 6.1 rebounds.
“This is a special group of kids, no doubt about that,” Byrne said. “They all bring something different to the table and they complement each other well on and off the court. I am very proud of what the girls have already accomplished ... but I think the best part of the season is still ahead of us.”
Hillcrest senior Dana Gettis has made more than a few coaches take an early timeout during her career, but in Thursday’s game against T.F. North she had Hawks coach John Maniatis calling for one after just eight seconds.
Her basket, on a running floater in the lane, put her over the 1,000-point mark. Maniatis called the timeout to allow her accomplishment to be announced to the crowd.
Gettis became the 14th member of the Hawks’ 1,000-point club.
“It takes a special player to achieve the numbers that Dana has in four years, especially since in three of them she was doing it in a reserve role,” Maniatis said. “Fearless, competitive, courageous and spirited are the words that come to mind.”