Since last March 2, you’d be correct in saying that Marian Catholic wins the state title in girls basketball as often as the temperature in the Chicago area reaches minus-27 degrees.
Which is exactly once — 1985 for the weather and last March for the Spartans’ hoops program.
In the next few days, Mother Nature might once again go one up on Marian, with a minus-27 reportedly within reach. But also within reach is a second state title for the Spartans’ girls basketball team, which looked the part of a championship contender on Friday evening when it routed North Lawndale 50-33.
The game was played in Zion and was part of the fifth-annual Battle of the Borders girls basketball showcase that included five games and was put together so that college coaches could see several top-quality players in the same gym on the same day.
For its part, Marian (13-3) put on a show after a painfully slow start, as the Spartans outscored the Phoenix 22-4 over the final 12 minutes of the first half and cruised to victory.
The Spartans led by as many as 23 in the second half, with North Lawndale finishing the game on an 11-5 run. Freshman guard Kia Brooks scored nine during the run and finished with a team-high 11 points. Precious Harden and Kiera Brooks both had eight for the Phoenix.
Ashton Millender led the Spartans with a game-high 18 points. She also grabbed seven boards. Senior forward Dajhae Mullins added nine, and junior forward Kauai Bradley had eight points and five boards.
The Spartans return to action next Saturday in St. Louis against Incarnate Word (Mo.).
Marian Catholic coach Dan Murray noted that it took his team a quarter to get rolling.
“It’s tough situation. Everybody played a lot of games over Christmas. Then, you have this long break, and everybody gets a little stagnant,” he said. “At times tonight, we had to refocus on what needed to be done, but I thought for the most part the girls did a good job.
“We worked on some things we needed to improve upon, and the girls did a nice job with that.”
On the other side, North Lawndale coach Corey Morgan was not happy with the team’s showing.
“In the second quarter we scored two points. In the third quarter we scored six points. We were terrible in those two quarters,” Morgan said. “We need to attack the basket and get better defensively, but the other big problem tonight was our effort.
“For the most part, our effort was terrible. We were OK in the first quarter and the fourth quarter. If we had given that effort all four quarters maybe we could have made it a game.”