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Girls Basketball: Nothing doing for Marian Catholic vs. Young

Marian's Savannah Altman (12) tries get shot up over Whitney Young's Taylor Malone (34) during fourth quarter Friday evening's IHSA

Marian's Savannah Altman (12) tries to get a shot up over Whitney Young's Taylor Malone (34) during the fourth quarter of Friday evening's IHSA girl's Class 4A semifinal game at Illinois State's Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill., March 7, 2014. Whitney Young won the game, 60-20. | Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 10, 2014 6:44AM



Few would dispute Marian Catholic played its best game of the season in Monday’s Class 3A supersectional win over Edwardsville.

From the start, shots were falling, the defense was an iron wall.

Friday brought a stunning reversal of fortune for the Spartans in their state semifinal against Young.

Their shots didn’t fall at the start. It was Young scoring at will.

Little changed on the way to a stunning 60-20 loss that ended their defense of the Class 4A state title and dropped them into Saturday’s third-place game against Geneva.

Kauai Bradley will not have a second opportunity to hit a last-second basket and win Marian a state title, but vowed she’ll be ready to play.

“We’re going to finish it off like a normal game,” Bradley said. “”We’re going to finish strong.”

Starting strong meant everything against Edwardsville, a game in which the Spartans shot 55 percent and finished with 11 three-pointers.

Friday they didn’t score their first two points until their eighth chance with the ball. Young already had 16, as 6-5 Khaalia Hillsman and 5-11 Taylor Brame dominated inside and Kiara Lewis popped a three for good measure.

“Young was the aggressor from the outset,” Marian coach Dan Murray said. “They hurt us on the glass early and we missed a couple of high-percentage shots early. That allowed them to have a quick run. I don’t think we really responded from there.”

Marian shot just 3-of-23 from the field and was outrebounded 29-7 in a first half that ended with Young in front 35-8.

“I guess they were more physical on offense and defense,” said Ashton Millender, who scored 14 of Marian’s 20 points. “We didn’t really move the ball.”

Marian played Young to a 9-all tie in the third quarter.

“When you don’t score it’s hard to set up your presses,” Murray said. “In the third quarter, when we were able to knock down some shots, we were able to create a little bit of havoc with our press and create a couple of turnovers.

“But really, we were just unable to score, hence, unable to get into anything.”

Hillsman, meanwhile, was part of an inside defensive wall that Marian tried to shoot over all night.

“We really kind of broke away from a lot of things that we try to do,” Murray said. “We forced a lot of shots. We’re a much better shooting basketball team (than 8-of-50), but we consistently tried to shoot over the top of their size.

“If you look back to our season in almost every one of our defeats we had the same result where we tried to dribble penetrate and finish over size without a lot of consistency.”

A third-place finish would be Marian’s second, to go along with a first, second and fourth.

“Obviously we want to end strong,” Murray said. “We don’t want this to be our lasting memory of this season. I think we’ve shown all year long the type of team were — 27-4 with a very daunting schedule.

“I don’t think one game in any way shape or form takes away from what our kids have done all season long. But that’s not what they want their lasting memory to be, this game.”



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