Nicole Ekhomu, Jaz Lumpkin lead Joliet Catholic past Morgan Park

SHARE Nicole Ekhomu, Jaz Lumpkin lead Joliet Catholic past Morgan Park

Joliet Catholic’s Christina Ekhomu remembers it all too clearly.

The Angels were making a state run last season, but were upset in the sectional semifinals by Bishop McNamara.

Tuesday against Morgan Park at the 3A Lincoln-Way West Sectional semifinals, all it took was a look between Ekhomu and fellow senior Jasmine Lumpkin to get the Angels on the right track.

“When we got to this game, I looked at Jaz (Lumpkin) and said ‘This is what we failed at last year,’” Ekhomu said. “At halftime, we’re thinking ‘This is our last go-around.’ We might as well get it done. We don’t have another time to go get it.”

A role player for Joliet Catholic, Ekhomu hit a huge buzzer-beater three to end the first half, giving the Angels the lead and the momentum for good.

Joliet Catholic sprinted out of the gate in the second half on the way to a 78-67 win over Morgan Park. The Angels (25-2) will play Bishop McNamara, 79-68 winners over Hillcrest, Thursday at 7 p.m. for the sectional title.

Joliet Catholic blitzed Morgan Park in the opening minute of the third quarter. Nicole Ekhomu drilled a wing three-pointer, scored again on a steal and a lay-in as the Angels went up 43-37.

Lumpkin added a fast break bucket and Ty Battle scored on a beautiful back cut on a bounce pass from Lumpkin as JCA increased the lead to 47-37.

Morgan Park drew to within single digits several times, including 62-53 with 5:27 in the fourth, but never got over the hump.

Nicole Ekhomu (26 points, 6 steals, 5 assists) and Lumpkin (25 points) paced Joliet Catholic. Battle added 12 points and five rebounds.

Bhrea Griffin (24 points), Shami Goodman (18 points) and Cachet Johnson (11 points) led Morgan Park (21-5).

“The game got away from us, and we kept fighting, never quite got there,” Morgan Park coach Kedonica Taylor said. “I’m proud of my seniors. They gave everything they had for four years.”

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