During her first three seasons on the Oak Lawn varsity, LaTondra Brooks has enjoyed a lot of success with competitive teams.
This one, though, has potential like none before.
“Oh, I think so,” Brooks said after the Spartans smashed host Tinley Park 66-30 in a South Suburban crossover on Tuesday.
“We have everything we need this year. Our posts are scoring for us most of the time. Definitely more than last year.”
Indeed, the 6-foot and 6-1 combo of Brianna Markusic (17 points, five rebounds) and Jannah Mahmoud (11 points, nine rebounds) was pretty much unstoppable.
Then again, so was Brooks (16 points) and Duneya Shatat (nine points), as point guard Brooke Annerino made sure all four got the ball early and often.
The Spartans, in simple terms, ran like a well-oiled machine en route to a start that has them at 8-0 overall and 2-0 in conference.
“They’re fun to watch and they’re fun to coach,” Oak Lawn coach Janet Meyers said. “You can tell that they enjoy playing basketball. We’re just trying to keep it all in perspective.”
Caitlin Sudduth had 14 points and seven rebounds for Tinley Park (5-5, 1-1).
Basically, it was a first-round knockout.
Oak Lawn came out of the gate attacking, Brooks twice driving the lane, Markusic adding a layup and Mahmoud scoring on a putback in an 8-0 start.
The Titans got as close as 12-6, before Shatat hit a pull-up three that started a 14-0 run to close the first quarter.
The Spartans ran and rebounded with a fury during the first eight minutes. They were 12-for-17 from the field, and scored on 12 of 14 possessions.
“That’s all we do at practice is stay in shape and run,” Markusic said. “We’re bringing it out on the court with us. We try to come out like nothing can bring us down.”
The Titans would remain stuck in single digits scoring-wise all four quarters, finishing around 20 points under their season average.
“In that first quarter they took us out of our rhythm,” Tinley Park coach Jason Becker said. “We came in prepared, but they hit every shot and we couldn’t hit a shot. Compiled with a few turnovers and fast breaks, it’s hard to come back from that.
“They have a great team, we’ll-coached. They hit their shots, run the pick and roll well, and they crash the boards. They do a lot of things well.”