Ashton Millender’s knee felt fine. More than fine.
Having missed some time over the last two weeks with a minor knee tweak, the Marian senior was glad to return to the court Monday.
Maybe the only person happier? Her backcourt mate, Teniya Page.
“We’ve been playing together since fifth grade,” Page said. “We know each other really well.”
Batman and Robin back together, Page and Millender went to work, the backcourt duo powered host Marian Catholic to a 65-44 nonconference win over Crete-Monee.
Page finished with 27 points and eight assists while Millender added 18 points and 12 rebounds for Marian (18-4).
“I just had to get my rhythm back,” Millender said. “I had to get into that flow. [Teniya and I], we know where the other one will be. We’ve been playing forever so we’ve got that good chemistry.”
Millender and Page wasted absolutely no time finding that rhythm, blasting their way out of the gates early. Page hit a floater in the lane.
Millender pulled up for a jumper inside before adding two free throws. Page followed suit with a hard drive to the basket, hitting the free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play, and capped the run with a three-pointer from the wing as Marian went up 9-0 less than three minutes into the game.
“We needed to come out strong and set the tone early,” Millender said.
The duo certainly did, Page scored 14 points in the first and Millender nine. The duo combined for all of Marian’s first-quarter points, going up 23-11. The Spartans outscored Crete-Monee 16-2 in the second quarter, taking a commanding 39-13 lead into halftime.
Crete-Monee came to life in the third, outscoring Marian 14-6, even cutting the lead to 14 points twice in the fourth.
“The game got sloppy and physical,” Page said. “We were so-so late, and we know we can be a lot better.”
Jerell Matthews added 12 points for the Spartans off the bench.
Marsha Howard’s 20 points and 12 rebounds led Crete-Monee (15-6) with Alexia DeBose adding nine points.