Bishop McNamara defeats IC Catholic Prep
Averaging nearly 68 points a game over its last five outings, Bishop McNamara came to Elmhurst on Thursday night with a very potent offense.
And after a strong start, the IC Catholic Prep girls basketball team quickly got an up-close look at that explosiveness.
Behind 20 points from Akahlya Dixon and 19 points from Kiaria Brown-Shaw, the Fightin' Irish overcame an early deficit to post a 63-33 victory over the Knights.
"We trust each other and we communicate," Brown-Shaw said of her team, which improved to 7-3 overall and 3-0 in the Metro Suburban Blue. "It's like a connection we have, it's unexplainable really. We have a lot of shooters on our team, but we try to attack the basket and that opens up opportunities for shots outside."
Coming off a tough 5-point loss to Aurora Central Catholic on Tuesday, ICCP (3-6, 1-3) played an outstanding opening quarter, leading 14-10 after the first eight minutes.
The Knights finished that period on a 12-2 run, receiving three baskets in a row from Claire Wagner, who led all players with 12 rebounds.
"The first quarter we were really playing hard," ICCP coach Kelsey James said. "We ran the offense well and we were attacking. I think we got a little scared in the second quarter. They had hyped this game up a lot, they knew (the Fightin' Irish) were good and we got nervous."
It was in that second quarter where the visitors seized control, thanks to a quick 11-0 spurt. After a 3-pointer by Jaida Smith, Bishop McNamara ended the half on another 15-1 charge to lead 36-18.
The Fightin' Irish then put the game away by scoring the first 16 points of the third quarter.
The Knights did fight back in the fourth, outscoring the opposition 11-4 with the clock running. Alia Johnson had 8 of her team-high 16 points in the quarter and added 8 rebounds.
"Alia is so athletic and she just hustles to get in a position to rebound," James said. "She did a really good job offensively and defensively."
As a team, ICCP finished with 37 rebounds, 15 of which came on the offensive end. But making those count continues to be as issue for the team.
"If we would convert half the (close) shots we take, it would be a different game for us," James said. "We are getting the looks we want, we are just not converting. Hopefully that comes with time.
"A lot of the time we only have one senior on the court. And you can see they get down in spurts, they know we are not doing the little things. But they are going to figure it out."