IC Catholic Prep overwhelmed Willows Academy 48-28 in a Class 2A girls basketball sectional final on Friday in Des Plaines.
Rory Manion scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Knights, and Bethy Hunt scored 14 for the Eagles.
The Knights came out fast from the opening tip utilizing a strong defense and overall team play, completely defusing the Eagles offense. The Knights took a 25-8 lead at halftime.
“Our plan was to come out aggressive and stick to what we do and what we do best,” said Knights coach Aubree Schuett. “Defense dictates what happens, so we went with that and it worked.”
The Knights’ zone offense left the Eagles dazed and confused.
“Zone offense is designed to make the extra pass and it only works if you got kids who can and are willing to make the extra pass. They do well with it,” Schuett said.
It was the first time the Knights won a sectional final since 1980.
Manion had a solid second half, scoring 8 of her 15 points.
“We definitely wanted this and they wanted it just as bad,” Manion said. “We knew we had to step up our game big time and give them everything we had.”
Lawrence cleared her bench, allowing eight players to put numbers on the score sheet.
“The seniors are fantastic,” Lawrence said. “With their leadership the younger kids have really stepped up and I think that contributes to our balanced attack.”
“We all play as a team and we all walk off as a team,” Knights senior Abby Radoha said.
Eagles coach Gerry Kenny had high praise for his team’s effort.
“We don’t usually start strong,” Kenny said. “They are a very aggressive team and they took advantage of it. They got a good read on us and we just couldn’t come back. They worked hard all season and this is a special team.”
The Knights move on to face Seton Academy or Mt. Assisi in the Concordia University supersectional Monday.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Marine Military Academy in Chicago. However, Marine Military, which is only 10 years old was not ready to host the game, lacking regulation-sized basketballs and with a basket rim 6 inches short of 10 feet. A decision was made through the IHSA to move the game to another venue. Willows was available and agreed upon by both athletic directors.