Girls Basketball: Joliet Catholic runs past Morgan Park
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media February 25, 2014 10:18PM
Updated: February 26, 2014 2:16AM
Joliet Catholic’s Christina Ekhomu remembers it all too clearly.
A season ago, the Angels were upset in the sectional semifinal by Bishop McNamara.
Tuesday night against Morgan Park in a Class 3A Lincoln-Way West Sectional semifinal, all it took was a look between Ekhomu and teammate Jasmine Lumpkin to get the Angels on the right track.
“When we got to this game, I looked at Jaz and said, ‘This is what we failed at last year,’” Ekhomu said. “At halftime, we’re thinking, ‘This is our last go-around. We might as well get it done. We don’t have another time to go get it.’ ”
Ekhomu hit a huge buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the first half, giving the Angels the lead, a spark and the momentum for good.
Joliet Catholic sprinted out of the gate in the second half on the way to a 78-67 win over Morgan Park. The Angels (25-2) will play Bishop McNamara, 79-68 winner over Hillcrest, at 7 p.m. Thursday for the sectional title.
With a back-and-forth first half almost in the books, Ekhomu took a pass from her sister, Nicole, with the clock winding down. Christina Ekhomu dribbled once and let it fly from five feet outside the arc at the top of the key. Swish. Joliet Catholic up 38-37.
“I saw the opening, took one dribble, and it felt good sliding off my finger,” Christina Ekhomu said. “Good momentum for the team.”
Was it ever. Joliet Catholic blitzed Morgan Park in the opening minute of the third period. Nicole Ekhomu drilled a three-pointer and scored again on a lay-in. Lumpkin added a fast-break bucket and Ty Battle scored on a beautiful back cut on a bounce pass from Lumpkin as Joliet Catholic went up 47-37, scoring nine points in 1:53.
“That three gave us that spark,” Nicole Ekhomu said. “It livened us up a little bit. Coach (Ed Schodrof) told us the first three minutes (of the second half) are the game. We went from there.”
Morgan Park drew to within single digits several times, as late as 62-53 with 5:27 in the fourth, but never got over the hump.
Nicole Ekhomu (26 points, 6 steals, 5 assists) and Lumpkin (25 points) paced Joliet Catholic. Battle had 12 points and five rebounds.
Bhrea Griffin (24 points), Shami Goodman (18) and Cachet Johnson (11) led Morgan Park (21-5).
“The game got away from us, and we kept fighting, never quite got there,” Morgan Park coach Kedonica Taylor said. “I’m proud of my seniors. They gave everything they had for four years.”