The Hot Read: Thursday night’s Class 4A Sandburg girls basketball regional final was decided in the opening eight minutes. Marian Catholic, the top seed of the Lincoln-Way North sectional complex, blitzed the host Celtics with an 18-4 run to conclude the first quarter. Marian forced six steals in the opening quarter to trigger multiple easy baskets in transition. The Marian defense was such a destructive force that Sandburg did not reach double digits until 3:17 remained until halftime. Jamie Johnson, one of three double-figure scorers for Marian, had a put-back at the second-quarter buzzer to give the Spartans a commanding 37-11 lead at halftime. The second half was much the same, enabling Marian coach Annie Byrne to substitute liberally en route to the Spartans’ 72-41 victory.
Patch MVP: Simone Law. The Spartans’ post led all players with 16 points and nine rebounds while blocking three shots.
Key Stats: The disparity in first-half shot attempts from the floor was striking. The Celtics’ turnover-plagued squad could muster only 14 attempts from the field. Marian Catholic, meanwhile, had more made field goals (12 of 34) than the Celtics had points (11) at halftime. Danielle Barry, who had her career come to a close for Providence, was the only Celtic to score from the field in the second quarter. Providence made the final more palatable by actually outscoring Marian in the fourth quarter.
Marian Catholic’s Leaders: Simone Law (16 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocked shots), Jamie Johnson (12 points, 3 steals), Jasmine Mathews (11 points) and Alanna Ferry (8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals).
Providence’s Leaders: Katie McGann (11 points, three 3-pointers), Alex Shurmulis, Rachel Novak, Danielle Barry (6 points apiece) and Emily Persak (5 points).
Quotable: Marian coach Annie Byrne on the Spartans’ defensive pressure that fueled their extended first-quarter run: “How much fun is it to stop the other team, frustrate them and score while doing it? It doesn’t get any better than that. In the postseason it’s one step at a time. You can’t be thinking what you have next week until you take care of this week.”
Providence guard Emily Persak on the Celtics’ offensive struggles in the first half: “In the beginning, I think we all came out a little nervous. It was tough to shake the jitter things. We knew it was going to be a physical and tough game. Things just didn’t go our way.”
Team Records/What's Next: Marian Catholic is 28-4 and advances to the Lincoln-Way North Sectional on Tuesday to battle Homewood-Flossmoor, which stopped Stagg 40-22 at Thornton. Providence Catholic had its season conclude at 12-20.