Full-force effort impressive as Maine West rolls
With 14 players seeing action in the first half and scoring 40 points in those 16 minutes, Maine West's girls basketball team put itself in some elite company on Friday night.
"The last time that happened may have been with our 1988 team," said Warriors Hall of Fame coach Derril Kipp, who was referring to his undefeated Class AA state championship team. "And we haven't had enough girls healthy to do that earlier this year."
The big first half -- sparked by 15-of-29 shooting from the floor -- helped pave the way to a 67-39 victory at Highland Park to raise the Warriors record to 5-0 in the Central Suburban North and 12-6 overall.
Kipp expects senior guard Kayla Pociejewski back for action next week after a foot injury sidelined her for the previous 11 games, which means he will his full contingent for the first time all season.
"I think we'll be OK in the second half of the season if we keep playing with everyone healthy now," said Kipp, who has 779 wins in his 35 seasons." We're close to having our whole team. It's nice to have everyone back."
Destiny Onyeise was back for the first time in three weeks (she was out of the country for a funeral in the family).
"Having Destiny back really makes a difference," Kipp said of the 5-11 sophomore forward who had 6 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. "And when we get Kayla back, we'll be able to do even more things.
"I thought we played well this game. W were passing the ball and getting it to the open person."
Senior Monica Liwag found the open person often, collecting a team-high 5 assists followed by sophomore Catherine Johnson, who had 4 assists with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 9 points.
Liwag found Jordan Hart (8 points) for her four baskets.
"We made a good tag team." Liwag said with a laugh. "It was great with everyone playing and having the diversity of the starters and bench all coming together as a team. We were truly a team."
Leading the team on offense were sophomore Allison Pearson (15 points, 2 steals) and freshman Rachel Kent (14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot).
Kent, who scored in double figures for the 15th time, scored 10 of her points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting.
"They had a lot of weapons," said Highland Park coach Jolie Bechtel. "I though offensively we played well all night. We didn't play so well defensively."
Playing well offensively for the Giants (4-14, 1-4) was senior forward Kaci Burden, who scored 17 points.
"Kaci played great on offense," Bechtel added. "We moved the ball well on offense and had the good looks. When you get down, though (25-11 after one quarter), you cant just trade baskets the rest of the way."
Sophomore Jessica Riedl (4 points) and senior Eliza Palraz (2 points) each grabbed 6 rebounds for West while senior Colleen Rice had 2. Also making into the scoring column for the Warriors was Liz Sanchez with a 3-pointer while teammates Acacia Hernandez, Anne Lipinski and Richa Patel each had a bucket.
Next up is a visit from Deerfield on Friday when West begins second-half play in the CSL North.
"It's a big game against Deerfield," Liwag said. "We won on a last-second shot (by Hart) the last time we played them."