Maine West navigates its way past Kenwood
As Maine West's girls basketball team negotiated its way on the 20-mile journey to Villa Park where it would face Kenwood Academy of Chicago in the 29th annual Coach Kipp's Hoopfest at Willowbrook, Warriors coach Kim de Marigny pondered whether or not her team would suffer any letdown from a Central Suburban North win over Highland Park Friday night.
It turned out that their game would mirror that trip from their Des Plaines campus -- some hazardous road conditions at the beginning that became otherwise a smooth sail as they recorded their 23rd win without a loss with a 70-50 win over the Broncos.
"Last night was a big conference game. Today was a big game for us as to just maintain what we've been trying to work on all year, which is in every game we want to play our best game every time," de Marigny said.
The Warriors would have to battle back from a 5-point deficit (14-9) in the opening quarter of play which arose from Kenwood's attempt to set up a run-and-gun style from the opening tip.
Maine West went on a 13-4 run over the final 3:35 of the quarter on the strength of 7 of junior guard Dylan Van Fleet's game-high 18 points. Senior Jocelyn Jacob (9 points) capped off the run with the first of her three 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 22-18 advantage.
They followed it with a dominant 21-5 second quarter with 7 more points from Van Fleet, 5 of St. Louis University signee Rachel Kent's 15 points and 6-foot-4 junior Angela Dugalic's buzzer-beating drive to the hoop which left Maine West comfortably ahead 43-23 at the break.
Senior guard Vanessa Reyes added 11 for the state's top-ranked Class 4A team, which will return to CSL North play at Deerfield next Friday night.
Van Fleet spoke of her team's early struggles.
"I think we just needed to get a feel for them first, then we really got into a rhythm and knew what to do," Van Fleet said.
Senior Tamara Nard, a Missouri-Kansas City recruit, led the Broncos (15-9) with 16 points followed by 5-11 freshman Brianna McDaniel with 10.
When asked about returning to divisional play and the rest of the season, the 5-8 Van Fleet spoke of the goal of treating every future opponent like it's the toughest foe her team will face.
"Because every team has their good players and their strengths," she said.