At one point during 's girls basketball rout of , senior Taylor Johnson nailed a 3-pointer from about 4 feet behind the arc. The next possession, the Knights’ Kayla Pope had a wide open 3 that fell halfway down the basket before bouncing out. It was that kind of night for Central, which lost 45-9 to the undefeated Griffins.
The Griffin defense was outstanding, keyed by Johnson's pressure on the perimeter and 6-foot senior Caitlin McMahon's presence inside. The Knights' defense did well in the second half, holding East to only 11 points in that span, but it wasn't enough. East coach Jim Martin said his team needs to avoid late-game droughts come playoff time.
"When you get into the state tournament time you can’t afford to have those lulls," he said.
Patch’s MVP: Johnson found her rhythm early and led all scorers with 14 points, going 3-for-6 on 3-pointers. She harassed opposing point guards with her pressure defense, getting four steals and forcing a number of turnovers.
Key Stats: Central had about 20 rebounds on the night. East had 19 in the first half alone and 42 total. East shot 56 percent in the first half but only 14 percent in the second half. That was still better than Central, which was 4-for-37 (11 percent) from the field and 0-for-9 on free throws.
LW-East Leaders: Caitlin McMahon was outstanding, with 13 points, 12 rebounds and two steals. Junior Marissa DeGroot contributed nine rebounds, and senior Amy Jacobsen had eight points, two steals and two rebounds.
LW-Central Leaders: Veronica Baldermann had four rebounds and two assists to help the Knights get on the board. Brittany Spindler led Central with three points, hitting a 3-pointer on her only shot of the night.Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total East 19 15 3 8 45 Central 0 2 2 5 9
Quotable I: "Taylor Johnson, I think, is the best defender in the Southland. A point guard can’t pass and do everything when she’s on them." — East coach Jim Martin
Quotable II: "We gave a good effort in the second half, but in the first half we took a few punches and it was too much to come back from." — Central coach Chris Fetherling
Quotable III: "Coach has been emphasizing that we need more confidence in the game, and I started to feel my shot." — Griffins star Taylor Johnson
Team Records: East remains undefeated at 13-0 and 5-0 in the Southwest Suburban Blue Conference. Central drops to 10-6 overall and 2-3 in the same conference.
What’s Next: Central will face Homewood-Flossmoor at 6 p.m. Thursday in New Lenox. East plays at Lockport at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.