Skylar Jones leads Young to Public League girls title with victory over Kenwood

The senior’s 28-point effort included 20 of 21 free throws.

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Young vs. Kenwood

Whitney Young’s Claire Roberts (from left), Lysa Jones, Skylar Jones celebrate as the Dolphins win the Chicago Public Championship, Chicago, Illinois, February 10, 2023.

Allen Cunningham/Sun-Times

The last time Skylar Jones played at UIC’s Credit Union 1 Arena, the Young senior missed some crucial foul shots.

The Missouri recruit wasn’t going to let that happen again on Saturday afternoon.

Kenwood kept fouling Jones in the Public League championship game, and she kept going to the line and knocking down free throws — 20 of 21, to be exact.

That was part of a 28-point effort that carried Young past Kenwood 58-45 for its second consecutive city title and 12th overall.

“The last time I played here, I missed the two free throws to win the game,” Jones said, referring to a 55-54 loss to Barrington in the Chicago Elite Classic in December. “So I really emphasized me making free throws when I’m tired. We shoot a lot of free throws in practice. When we miss we run. So I feel that has a lot to do with me making free throws under pressure.”

Young (23-5) avenged a 68-63 loss to Kenwood on Jan. 28. This time, the Dolphins never trailed and jumped out to a 28-11 lead midway through the second quarter. Kenwood (26-5) got as close as 43-38 early in the fourth quarter, but Jones kept hitting free throws to put the game away.

Dolphins assistant coach Angie Foster said that wasn’t the only difference-maker. In the first meeting, Young played man-to-man defense and sophomore guard Ariella Henigan had success driving to the hoop.

“We had to go to a zone defense to keep the ball out of the middle of the court,” Foster said. “[We] played really, really well. We played together.”

Henigan scored a team-high 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Kenwood this time, but no one else was in double figures.

Young sophomore Destiny Jackson was 5-for-6 from the line — Young went 30-for-35 overall — and finished with 14 points.

Jackson also was on Young’s 2022 championship team as a freshman.

“I felt way more confident this time than when I played in this environment the first time,” she said. “I felt that was just like the difference, being in my comfort zone.”

There could be a rubber match in the season series between the Public League powers. Kenwood is the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Proviso East Sectional and Young is

No. 3 behind Lyons. The Dolphins and Broncos could meet in the sectional final on Feb. 23.

“I’m sure it won’t be the last time [playing Kenwood],” Young coach Krissy Harper said. “They’re a good program. We look forward if we do match up with them in two weeks.”

If there is another game between the city rivals, chances are it will be a physical one. Saturday’s matchup featured 57 free throws.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a matchup that we circled on our calendar,” Harper said. “But we do know when we play Kenwood, there will be a lot of aggressiveness, it’s going to be a battle of the boards and it’s going to come down to knocking down free throws. Today was our day.”

Jones, meanwhile, is focused on getting to state, no matter who the Dolphins have to beat to get there.

“To me, it really doesn’t matter who we play in sectionals,” Jones said. “If we do see them again, it’s always gonna be a good game.”

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