With a 15-1 record heading into Tuesday’s action, Marian Catholic is clearly doing something right.
But at the middle of the season, there is always something to work on.
What was on the docket for the Spartans Tuesday against visiting Joliet Catholic? Honing that killer instinct.
Holding a seven-point advantage heading into the fourth, Marian used a 12-2 run to blow open a close game in a 56-44 win in Chicago Heights.
“Coach [Annie] Byrne told us to keep it up and pick up the intensity because it had been kind of low,” Marian’s Ashton Millender said. “We came out to win the game. We have to show that killer instinct.”
Millender (nine rebounds, four assists) and Teniya Page (seven assists) scored 16 points apiece for Marian (16-1, 5-0) in the East Suburban Catholic conference battle. Jerrell Matthews added 11 points off the bench for the Spartans.
On a night when the offense struggled from the field, things finally fell into place in the fourth. Page found a wide-open Megan Walsh behind the Joliet Catholic defense for an easy bucket to kick things off.
Millender followed with a hard score on an offensive rebound and added another bucket inside on a zip pass from Page.
The run was on, and the host Spartans never looked back. Millender didn’t pause when explaining what turned the tide.
“Our defense, especially our man-to-man,” Millender said. “Our defense leads into our offense. When that gets going, everything does.”
Joliet Catholic (14-2, 4-1) finished 14-of-38 from the floor. Nicole Ekhomu had 15 points for the Angels but none in the second half. Leading scorer Jasmine Lumpkin was held to six points before fouling out late in the fourth.
Trevonya McClain (eight points) and Mary Susan Rouse (seven) contributed for Joliet Catholic.
“Mentally, we didn’t have an answer when we needed one,” Joliet Catholic coach Ed Schodrof said. “They got the key rebounds and some weak side layups that were huge. We had that scoring drought, and that combination was our demise.”