Linnae Harper was ecstatic when she heard the news.
“There are thousands of girls who are considered and put the time in, and for me to get the honor and be picked, it was a true blessing,” the senior star Young guard said of being selected to the McDonald’s All American game April 3rd at the United Center.
But Harper still has work to do with her own team.
The 5-8 all-purpose standout showcased her game to marvelous effect, scoring 18 points and adding four rebounds, four steals and three assists in less than half the game as the defending Class 4A champion Dolphins thrashed North Lawndale 82-44 in the Little Village Regional final Friday night.
Young (25-4) advances to the Trinity sectional against Oak Park-River Forest on Monday night.
The Dolphins ripped off first half runs of 11-0 and 12-3 in seizing a commanding 38-15 lead at the break. Harper scored the Dolphins’ first seven points. She accounted for 13 of their 15 first quarter points, scoring 11 points and adding an assist.
“This was as regional final, and obviously I want to keep playing,” she said. “This is the time of the year when you expect the higher-seeded teams to win these games. With each game, I have to go out and do a little more.” Noting the upsets of Trinity and Fenwick, the Kentucky-recruit said each game is about surviving.
“This is the time of year when if you lose, you go home and we’re not ready for that yet,” she said. “We’re not concerned with repeating [as state champions], we just want to keep playing and have another game.”
Harper recorded back-to-back steals for layups in sparking the 11-0 run to end the first quarter.
Taylor Brame, a 5-11 junior forward, scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the second quarter for the Dolphins. She added nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Young played through a choppy game that saw the officials call a staggering 48 fouls and one technical. Harper stayed hot at the beginning of the second half by drilling a three-pointer from the right wing and a pull up jumper.
Young wore the Phoenix (20-10) out with its depth, balance and size. Nine different Young players scored. Tanita Allen, a rangy 5-10 sophomore forward, contributed 16 points and nine rebounds for the Dolphins.
Sophomore guard Jamaria WIlliams scored 14 points to lead North Lawndale. Sophomore guard Kiera Brooks contributed 13 points and senior guard Shantell Wilson scored nine points, all on three-pointers.