FRANKFORT – After a heartbreaking loss Wednesday, Providence Catholic played a great defensive game and beat Andrew, 59-38, on Thursday in the second game of pool play in the Medieval Classic at Lincoln-Way East.
The host Griffins also had a stellar defensive performance as they beat Hinsdale South, 49-38, to set up a matchup against the Celtics at 3:30 p.m. Friday, with the winner advancing to the title game Saturday.
The Celtics (11-4) had a 5-2 lead early in the first quarter, but a 3 by Andrew tied the game at 5 with 6:24 left, and that would be the last points the Thunderbolts would score until they hit a shot with 10 seconds remaining in the quarter.
By then, Providence had scored
10 unanswered points and finished the quarter on a 12-2 run, and Andrew would never get any closer.
Providence outscored Andrew in each of the final three quarters, hit eight 3-pointers and outrebounded the Thunderbolts by eight.
“We have had two games this season where our defense has let us down, but the kids have owned that,” Providence coach Eileen Copenhaver said. “Today was totally different, and they really played well on the defensive end of the floor. To win the big games against the good teams you have to be able to play great defense. The players are learning to be more responsible for their defensive assignments.
“When you turn the ball over on offense, I don’t have a problem with that, but when you blow a defensive assignment, that is where the problem lies. The effort was there today, and you see the outcome.”
Lauren Knight and Ashley Raymer combined to score 31 points, as the combo hit eight 3-pointers and they scored them out throughout the game.
“Coach has really been on us about the defense,” said Knight, who finished with 16 points. “We needed the effort at that end of the floor [Thursday] and every game we play, and our defense has been getting better.”
Raymer, who scored 15 points with all coming from beyond the arc, loves to shoot the 3.
“If Lauren or I are open, we have the green light to shoot, and we will,” Raymer said. “We both went to state in the 3-point contest last year, and we just have this connection on the floor; if you’re open – shoot.”
The Celtics are more than the two players offensively, as Ryann Ogarek scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Maddy Bear had six rebounds and chipped in with four points.
Lincoln-Way East (10-4) followed the Celtics’ lead and drained 10 3-pointers of its own, but the story was the defensive effort by the Griffins.
Leading 28-23 at halftime, East outscored the Hornets 16-3 in the third quarter to take a 44-26 lead, thanks to a zone defense that limited Hinsdale South. The Griffins also held South to only three field goals from the start of the second quarter until two minutes were left in the game.
“We knew Kennedi Perkins was a great player with the ball for South, and she had 11 points at the half, so we made the switch to a zone and even threw a box on her, and it really limited what they could do,” East coach Jim Nair said. “We work on defense every day in practice, and we probably spend too much time on it, but when we play defense and shoot like we did today we are a tough team to beat.”
East was led by the 16-point effort of senior Kaley Sheehan, as she made three of the 10 3-pointers by the Griffins.
“We work on defensive every day in practice,” Sheehan said. “It was great to be back with the team after Christmas break, but we have a big game against Providence, because if you host a tournament, aren’t you supposed to be in the championship game?”
Olivia Molnar scored 10 points with Lilly Genis scoring nine, all from beyond the arc, but the facilitator on the Griffins was senior Katchie Savic, who grabbed seven rebounds, scored six points and was all over the floor from the point guard position.
“I like to contribute wherever and whenever I can,” Savic said. “Whether it’s scoring, making the pass, getting the rebound or steal, it’s all important, and it just depends on the game and the situation.”