Whitney Young knocks out Marian Catholic

CHICAGO -- History repeated itself on Monday, which was good news for Whitney Young and bad news for Marian Catholic.

For the third consecutive season, Whitney Young ended Marian Catholic’s season and advanced to the state semifinals by winning the Class 4A St. Xavier super-sectional title. The No. 2 Dolphins defeated No. 4 Marian Catholic 74-52 on Monday.

Whitney Young’s victory sets up the game everyone has been waiting for the whole season. The Dolphins (31-4) will meet No. 1 Bolingbrook (26-2) in the Class 4A state semifinals at Illinois State on Friday. Bolingbrook defeated Edwardsville 59-45 in the Illinois Wesleyan super-sectional on Monday.

Whitney Young and Bolingbrook have met in the last three state championships. The Dolphins defeated Bolingbrook 54-45 in 2008. The Raiders won 53-29 in 2009 and 60-50 in 2010.

“We weren’t looking past Marian Catholic,” Whitney Young senior guard Kiana Johnson said. “We knew we had to beat them if we were going to go downstate.

“We definitely haven’t met our goal. Marian Catholic was one more team we had to beat to get to our goal. Bolingbrook is up next. We have to beat them to get to the state championship.”

Most of the questions Whitney Young’s players and its coach Corry Irvin took following their win were about their upcoming rematch against Bolingbrook rather than the game they had just won.

“We have nothing to lose,” Irvin said of Bolingbrook. “They’re the defending champs.”

“It’s fun playing them three years in a row,” Dolphins senior guard Chanise Jenkins said of Bolingbrook. “We know what we have to do. I’m just saying we have to play defense, defense, defense.”

Defense was what keyed Monday’s victory over Marian Catholic (30-5).

At first, it appeared as if Monday’s game was going to be similar to the one where the Dolphins needed two overtimes to beat Marian Catholic two years ago. Whitney Young led 13-11 after one quarter and held just a four-point advantage with 5:25 remaining in the second quarter.

From that point, the game changed and became more like last year’s 17-point Dolphins’ win. With Whitney Young’s defense pressuring Marian Catholic and its offense pushing the ball quickly, the Dolphins closed the half on a 16-4 run and took a 37-21 lead into halftime.

Whitney Young’s Division I backcourt of Jenkins, a DePaul recruit, and Johnson, a Michigan State recruit, were the difference in the decisive second quarter. Jenkins scored eight of her team-high 19 points in the quarter, and Johnson had five points, three rebounds and four assists.

Johnson just missed a triple-double. She finished with 16 points, six rebounds and 10 assists.

“Whitney Young is a good team,” Marian Catholic senior Simone Law said. “If we tried to stop the drive, they made jump shots. If we tried to stop the jump shot, they drove.”

Law, Marian Catholic’s star player, had a slow first half, but made up for it in the second half, scoring 19 of her 21 points in the final quarters. She also had 11 rebounds.

Jasmine Matthews scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Spartans.

Linnae Harper (13 points, seven rebounds), Alexis Lloyd (nine points, six rebounds) and Sinclair Cunningham (seven points, six rebounds) contributed for the Dolphins.