Girls Basketball: Lincoln-Way North tames Lincoln-Way West
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media December 10, 2013 7:58PM
Lincoln-Way North's Ellen Graham (43) works the Phoenix high post offense as Lincoln-Way West's Maxine Krol defends. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 12, 2014 6:31AM
At 6-foot-2, Lincoln-Way North’s Ellen Graham is an offensive and defensive presence in the post.
That said, she’s far from a one-dimensional player. She’s quite capable of stepping out to the perimeter to help the Phoenix break a press or hit a long jumper.
“I don’t want to be the turtle on the team,” Graham said with a smile. “I take pride in that, that I can get up and down the floor. I feel like that helps our team out a lot.”
Graham did it all Tuesday night, showcasing her all-around game with 20 points, including a three-pointer, 12 rebounds and four blocks in host Lincoln-Way North’s 62-48 win over Lincoln-Way West in a SouthWest Suburban Red game.
Kayla Kieklak (17 points) and Lanie Hicks (12) also contributed for the Phoenix (4-2, 1-0).
After getting a deserved rest on the bench late in the third quarter, Graham returned to the court with a vengeance in the fourth. The senior forward scored six straight points, scoring on an offensive rebound, a short jumper on a pass from Kieklak and capping her burst with a nice spin move to put North up 59-42.
“We’re up about 10, and I wanted to help extend the lead,” Graham said. “We don’t want anything crazy in the end there.”
West (4-2, 0-1) got back-to-back three-pointers from Jenna Mathews and Emily Atsinger (11 points) to cut the deficit to 61-48 but got no closer.
The Warriors’ pressure defense in the third helped cut North’s lead to 51-42. Kieklak ended the third by passing up a three-pointer for a drive. She hit a running jumper at the buzzer in advance of Graham’s fourth-quarter run.
“We had to stay composed against the press,” Kieklak said. “There’s always someone open so look down the floor. I saw the lane was open and thought, ‘Why not take it?’ ”
Dani Morgan scored 21 points for West, which shot 10-of-26 from three-point range.
“(With the press) we didn’t get it close enough where we could fall back,” West coach Ryan White said. “We’re thin with injuries now, but the girls did a good job pressing as long as we could.”