Girls Basketball: Mount Assisi aiming for memorable finish
By Tony Baranek email@example.com February 17, 2014 7:58PM
Mary Kate Wetzel (left), of Mount Assisi, and Sarah Mogensen (31), of Lisle. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 24, 2014 5:54PM
Mount Assisi coach Kelsey James got the effort she was looking for Thursday when her Eagles battled host Lisle to the wire and prevailed in a 54-52 Class 2A regional final thriller.
On the bus ride back to school, she got the answer she was hoping for in a conversation with junior Jess Moriarty.
“I asked Jess if it made the transfer worth it,” James said. “She had a huge smile on her face and said, ‘Yes.’ That was great to hear.”
Moriarty, who transferred to Mount Assisi before this school year, will be transferring again after Mount Assisi closes its doors in June. She and the other Eagles, however, are trying to make the final season memorable.
Mount Assisi (13-17) will meet Westmont (12-17) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a Class 2A Harper Sectional semifinal. In the other semi, Seton (17-8) faces Hope (14-6).
The postseason has seen the best of the Eagles, who advanced to the semifinals in the GCAC White Tournament, then beat Harper and Lisle to capture the Lisle Regional.
In the title game, they rallied from a five-point third-quarter deficit to survive behind five straight free throws by Moriarty over the final 1:46.
“Words can’t even describe how satisfied they were,” James said. “I have been telling them all year that their hard work would pay off and you could see Thursday they finally believed it.
“The season has had its ups and downs, and at times it was hard to motivate them to want to work hard and win, but Thursday they all bought into the idea that if they just give everything they have, they are a very tough team to beat.”
Mary Kate Wetzel is closing out her high school career in double-double fashion (10.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg). Moriarty (9.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is shooting 43 percent from the three-point arc while Terri Dearth is averaging 3.1 assists.
“I have been saying to them and anyone who has asked that I’m just waiting for it to click, and it is now,” James said. “Monica Tadros (7 points) stepped up big in the (title) game and is continuing to get better, Mary Kate has had a good season, but is really improving her game offensively, Terri and Jess are working great together, so it’s just the right time.”
Westmont captured the Cristo Rey Jesuit Regional with a 40-27 victory over Tilden in which Annie Carlson had 16 points and Mara Casper 12. Carlson and Casper are the top two scorers for the Sentinels, who had a rash of injuries early in the season and lost their first nine games.
Seton advanced by winning its own regional as GCAC White Player of the Year Ebony Bailey scored 18 points in a 56-30 rout of Illiana Christian.
Hope’s path was a lot more dramatic. In the U-High Regional final, the Eagles trailed by 10 points with a little more than five minutes left to play before outscoring Bowen 16-4 for a stunning 52-50 victory. Danisha Maggette had 27 points for Hope.
In Class 1A, Morgan Park Academy (14-10) will meet Hinckley-Big Rock in a Harvest Christian Academy sectional semifinal.
The Warriors claimed their sixth regional title in seven years behind double-doubles by Gabby Ogbevire and Brittney McKnight in a 54-38 win over Universal. Hinckley-Big Rock won its own regional as Lauren Paver scored 30 points in a 62-35 win over Harvest Christian Academy.
Player of the Week
Casey McMahon, of Stagg, is the SouthtownStar Girls Basketball Player of the Week.
McMahon, a senior guard, helped the Chargers to victories over Joliet Central and Joliet West. Against Central she had 21 points and surpassed the 200 mark for three-pointers in her career. Against West she was 6-of-8 from three-point range and totaled 22 points. She added nine rebounds and six steals in the two games.