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Bishop McNamara, Sanders defeat JCA

JOLIET – The Bishop McNamara’s girls basketball team entered Wednesday’s game against Joliet Catholic Academy as the state’s top-ranked Class 2A squad.

The Irish showed why they are deserving of such accolades after grabbing an early lead and keeping it throughout the clash of two of the East Suburban Catholic Conference’s best.

With Rutgers-bound guard Khadaizha Sanders scoring 32 points while running the attack and distributing the ball, Bishop Mac captured a 75-67 win over the Angels.

“Khadaizha is a player, and she’s the glue to that team,” JCA coach Kenny Battle said. “She got her teammates involved tonight, and that was the difference right there. They came in and wanted it more than we did, and that was the end result.

“Close doesn’t count. We got it to two, and then we had three turnovers and a bad shot – and the next thing that you know, you go from two points to being down eight, and you can’t do that against this team. They exploited us on certain plays, and we didn’t hustle on others.”

McNamara (16-2, 4-0) jumped out to a 22-9 lead less than a minute into the second quarter with Corinne O’Connor (22 points) contributing eight points during that stretch.

The Angels (12-6, 4-2) managed to close to within 35-30 at the break, thanks to eight points apiece during the second quarter from Ty Battle (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Kennedy Weigt.

While the Irish led by as much as nine points in the third period, JCA ended the quarter with a 7-0 run, sparked by a 3-pointer from Kaitlyn Williams and two baskets from Nicole Ekhomu (14 points, four blocks) to pull to within 51-49 with eight minutes left.

After Ekhomu made a layup and hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 55-54, Bishop Mac went on an 11-0 run with Hanna Mitchell (11 points) tossing in one 3-pointer followed by two more from Sanders. The Angels could get no closer than six points back after that.

JCA also received nine points apiece from Mia Farrell and Andriana Acosta (nine rebounds) while Jnaya Walker chipped in with seven points.

McNamara coach John Rutter was excited to add a victory over a talented JCA squad to his team’s résumé this season.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Rutter said. “This is not an easy team to play against since they’re real athletic and real long with some great shooters. We came to play and did some really nice things. We struggled there for a little bit, but that had a lot to do with them.

“And it helps to have a nice point guard who can run the show. She does a nice job, and the girls around her stepped up tonight and played well.”

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