Girls Basketball: Marian Catholic tops Geneva for third place in Class 4A
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org March 8, 2014 9:20PM
Marian's Catholic's Teniya Page (1) puts up a shot during the fourth quarter of Saturday's IHSA girl's Class 4A third-place game against Geneva at Illinois State's Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill., March 8, 2014. Marian Catholic won the game, 45-34. | Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media
(at Redbird Arena, Normal)
Young 60, Rolling Meadows 44
Marian Catholic 45, Geneva 34
Rolling Meadows 51, Geneva 43
Young 60, Marian Catholic 20
Updated: April 10, 2014 6:57AM
NORMAL — The idea was to have fun.
The smiles afterward indicated it pretty much was mission accomplished for Marian Catholic, which led from start to finish Saturday night at Redbird Arena in beating Geneva 45-34 to claim third place in Class 4A.
Ashton Millender, as she has done myriad times in her career, led the way for the Spartans (28-5) with 16 points and seven rebounds. Gabrielle Cooper added 10 points, hitting two huge three-pointers when Marian needed them the most.
Abby Novak scored 13 points for Geneva, which closed at 26-7.
There seemed no evidence of the raw disappointment of Friday night’s shocking 60-20 loss to Young even as the Spartans took the court for the third-place game.
They came out loose and shot with the same effortlessness they did in landing a first-quarter knockout against Edwardsville.
This time it resulted in a 16-2 lead after Millender hit three threes and Jerell Matthews a fourth.
“As a senior I was out there enjoying my last moments of playing basketball in high school,” Millender said. “We just said to forget about (Friday). We can’t do anything about it, so we just have to move on and win (Saturday).”
A layup by Dorian Adams on a pretty pass from Millender left Marian in front 20-6 midway through the second quarter. It was 23-10 at halftime.
Geneva, however, wasn’t done. The Vikings clamped down on defense during the third quarter and at the other end found their way to the free-throw line nine times.
Marian’s lone bucket of the period was a three by Cooper. It was 26-21 going into the fourth quarter.
“I thought we got a couple of good looks, but we missed a couple of layups and some shots within the paint,” Marian coach Dan Murray said. “The biggest thing in the third quarter was that we couldn’t get into some of our pressure (defense) and it became a little bit of a half-court game, which worked to the strength of Geneva.”
Geneva got to within 26-23 when Novak hit two free throws early in the fourth period. But Cooper, on back-to-back passes from Teniya Page, hit consecutive threes to open things back up.
“My teammates kept telling me to shoot the ball, so I shot it,” Cooper said. “I wanted to do it for my team.”
The Spartans scored on their final seven possessions to put the game away.
“It’s a great feeling,” Murray said. “Credit goes out to the girls, for as hard as they worked all season long from Day 1 to get themselves down here this year. They should be awful proud of their accomplishments.”