CLASS 4A GIRLS BASKETBALL FINALS
NORMAL — This was the game "everyone" wanted since last season when Bolingbrook upset Young in the 2009 Class 4A finals. Coming into the state finals, both Bolingbrook and Young had not lost to teams from the State of Illinois - AMAZING!
Young's 21-game winning streak came to an end in California, losing to Mater Dei and to Long Beach Poly on Feb. 5 and 6. These two losses came right after Young had just beat Bogan for the second year in a row to win the Public League championship.
Both teams have been able to capitalize doing what they do best... Young is fast and athletic; Bolingbrook plays tall and aggressive; and tonight's rematch lived up to both teams strengths, but when the smoke cleared, and the officials sorted everything out, it was the Lady Raiders who won the re-match 60-50.
“We love playing them and the best team came out on top,” said Bolingbrook junior guard Ariel Massengale, who scored 18 points. “I just did what I had to do for my teammates. We knew they were a hungry team and they wanted this win just as bad as we did.”
The Lady Raiders turned up their defensive switches and held the Dolphins to just 8 points in both the first and second quarters of play. From here they were able to jump out to an early 29-16 lead at the half.
Young came alive in the third quarter behind Kiana Johnson’s shooting. She scored 10 points in the last four minutes, including 2 threes which bought the game to within 3 points. Unfortunately, Johnson’s heroics stopped there. She suffered her 5th foul in the fourth quarter with 1:23 remaining in the game.
“We picked it up on defense and played our hardest in the second half,” Johnson said. “If we would have played like we did in the second half in the first half, the game would have been ours and we wouldn’t be crying now. “I feel like we underestimated them. We came out too relaxed and not strong enough.”
Down the stretch, the Dolphins had a chance to capitalize on the few mistakes the Raiders made. More specifically, junior guard Massengale missed 5 consecutive free-throws and this opened the door for Young to rally. Also sophomore phenom Morgan Tuck
picked up her fourth foul at the 3:43 mark of the third. She was forced to sit on the bench for about 8 minutes.
“It was difficult because I can’t be out there to help my team,” Tuck said. “I’ve been in foul trouble the last couple of games and my team knows I get in foul trouble. But the team knows when I get in foul trouble it's time to step up and get it done."
Young was able to tie the game at 47 on a lay-up by Janee Thompson, who finished with 15. On the next possession, Morgan Tuck knocked down a short jumper on an assist by the birthday girl Mercedes Griffin that sparked an 8-1 run. Young’s Bryeasha Blair stopped the run by scoring a on a lay-up with 24 seconds to go, but they would not score again in the contest.
To seal the game, Massengale and M. Tuck hit both of their two free throws. In short, the Raiders were able to hit 7 of 8 from the charity striped in the final minute of play to seal their back to back Class 4A championship.
“They scored 17 points from the free-throw line in the second half,” Young coach Corry Irvin said. “I would have liked to have seen a state championship game called fairly. We did miss some free throws, too, but we played our hearts out.”
Bolingbrook has reached the state championship game for 5 consecutive years, and has played Young in the state title game for three years in a row. They’ve won state titles in 2009 and 2006, and finished second in 2007 and 2008, when they lost to Fenwick and Young, respectively.
"Last night was tough because we didn't play our best and as a result the goal of a state championship wasn't there anymore," Liston said after the contest. "We wanted to end the season on a high note and make a statement that we're a lot better than we showed last night."
Maddie Swan led the way from Hersey with 11 points and 8 boards.
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