Four players hit double digits in scoring, led by 20 points from sophomore Kiara Lewis as Young rolled past North Lawndale 76-62 in semifinal play in Tuesday’s Class 4A Hinsdale South Sectional.
The Dolphins will play Trinity or Kenwood at 7 p.m. in Thursday’s title game.
North Lawndale (16-12) hung with Young early on and trailed just 13-12 after one quarter.
The Phoenix was able to victimize the Dolphins with its speed, getting to the basket several times in the first half for lay-ins. Soon, those opportunities vanished.
“We picked up our defense and started talking more to each other and I think our intensity picked up,” Lewis said. “With it being the third time playing them, we knew what to expect, but it took a while for us to adapt to them on defense.”
North Lawndale’s Precious Harden (15 points, 8 rebounds) hit a shot with 5:21 left in the first half to cut the Young (28-3) lead to 21-18. But the Dolphins responded with a 12-0 run, highlighted by a three-point play and then a lay-in by Tanita Allen (13 points, 7 rebounds).
“I thought we started making better decisions then and got some stops on defense,” Young coach Corry Irvin said. “That helped us a lot as we were able to get a couple stops and then score a couple quick baskets.”
Second, third and even fourth chance scoring opportunities also helped Young as it enjoyed a decisive 44-29 rebounding edge.
“It gave us a lot more opportunities to score and rebounding is one of the things we stress,” Irvin said. “We hit the glass and we gave ourselves more opportunities.”
North Lawndale wouldn’t go away quietly. The Phoenix trailed by as many as 16 points in the opening minute of the second half, but cute deficit to 41-33 midway through the third quarter. It would never get any closer.
Young made 30-of-38 free throws, while North Lawndale was 13-of-18.
“I thought they called our fouls and called their fouls,” Irvin said. “It’s always important when you go to the line to make your free throws. We did a nice job of that.”
Khaalia Hillsman added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Taylor Brame scored 10 points for the winners.
Kiera Brooks led the Phoenix with 16 points.