Maine West battles past Stevenson, will play for Komaromy Classic title
Maine West's Angela Dugalic called Stevenson a tough team.
"They kind of did a lot of double teaming," said the 6-foot-4 Dugalic, one of the top high school girls basketball players in the nation who knows all about seeing extra defensive attention. "But we found a way out most of the time."
And the Warriors found a way a into a fourth straight championship game at the 37th annual Komaromy Holiday Classic at Dundee-Crown High School.
Dugalic scored 26 points with 8 rebounds and 6 assists while Dylan VanFleet chipped in 14 points with 5 assists as three-time defending champion Maine West (14-1) stopped Stevenson 61-48 on Saturday night.
Only Fenwick (champion from 2004-2008) has played in at least four straight titles since the tourney began in Carpentersville in 1983.
"It's a blessing," Dugalic said of the chance to face fellow Central Suburban League opponent Maine South (11-4) in Monday's 8 p.m. title match. "I just want to keep the legacy going for Derril (Kipp, West's late hall of fame coach) and try to get another win for my birthday."
Kipp, Maine West's coach for 35 seasons, won five D-C titles.
Dugalic and VanFleet celebrate their 18th birthdays on Sunday.
Kim de Marigny has been their coach the past four years when she took over for Kipp.
"We are blessed to be in finals again and now we've got to take care of business," said de Marigny, who also got key offensive points from Brianna Hernandez, Jane Rothweiler, Melissa Gomez and Jaclyn Riedl on Saturday. "We did what we needed to do at the end.
"We've got bench players who deserve to be playing. We may not be able to get them all in but they're always encouraging everyone and we are very fortunate for that."
Gomez' bank shot gave West a 26-11 lead at half.
Stevenson (9-6) kept chipping away in the second half.
West held a 44-29 lead with 7:06 left.
Avery King then scored 8 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in a period of three minutes to get Stevenson back in the game. The Patriots trailed by 9 after King's 3-pointer with 4:51 left.
Ava Bardic's 3-pointer got the Pats to within 50-42 with 3:04 left.
That's as close as the Pats would get.
"We just relaxed and you can't do that against a team like Stevenson," de Marigny said.
"Our defense was really good at the beginning," Dugalic said. "Later it sort of fell apart but then we got it back at the end."
King led Stevenson with 20 points.
"She was bleeding in the face, got knocked down a few times and she hit some big shots," said Stevenson coach Ashley Graham. "I'm really proud of the toughness and leadership she showed on the offensive end."
Simone Sawyer added 10 points while Nikki Ware and Bardic each chipped in eight for the Pats.
"The bottom line for us was our turnovers," Graham added. "That's what Maine West does. They're so strong defensively. They have strong hands, they get in the passing lanes, they jump back and they make you panic a little. We showed some signs of that and unfortunately turned the ball over."
But Graham loved her players' no-quit attitude in the final 16 minutes.
"I'm just so proud of their toughness in the second half to come back and make it a game," she said. "We come here to play great teams, Maine West is a great team and it's just going to make us better. We know that."