NEW CHICAGO | Whiting coach Kevin Moynihan was concerned about the familiarity of his team's sectional opponents.
“We’ve played eight games against the teams in this sectional,” Moynihan said. “That becomes a disadvantage after a while, even if you win most of them.”
At least for one night, the No. 10 Oilers can rest easy. Behind 18 points from Brianna Blackwell, Whiting defeated Wheeler for the second time this season, 47-33 at Bill Logan Gymnasium in the Class 2A Sectional 33 semifinals.
Blackwell opened the game with a 3-pointer from the left side of the arc, and followed it with another trey from the right. She had eight points in the first as the Oilers took a 12-8 lead.
Whiting (19-3) stretched the lead to 19-14 at the half. Citlali Lopez nailed a pair of 3-pointers for the Oilers.
Nickole Finch did all she could to keep the Bearcats (9-13) in the game, scoring eight points in the first half and 11 for the game. She also had 14 rebounds. Bearcat Shannon Eden had 10 points before foul trouble sent her to the bench to start the fourth quarter.
Blackwell put the dagger to Wheeler’s heart with 4:30 left in the game. The Bearcats had crept to within four when the Oiler junior buried her fourth trey and followed it with a steal and jumper to make it 38-29 in the blink of an eye.
The Oilers will meet the Bishop Noll Warriors for the third time this season Saturday night, this time with the sectional crown on the line.
Noll joined the Saturday night party with a 63-30 thumping of Lake Station in the semifinal nightcap.
The Warriors (21-2) came out on a 13-0 run and never looked back. They led 22-4 after one and 33-10 at the half.
Naomi House got the party started with three 3-pointers in the first half. She scored 19 for the game to go along with three assists and two steals.
The rest of the Warrior scoring was distributed fairly evenly. Tori Keilman finished with 13 points, Colleen Kearney scored nine, and Elena Sobilo had six.
Joanna Dwyer led the Eagles with 13 points and three steals. Desiree Parrillo had 12 points.
Noll has won both of its games against Whiting this year. But the first one on January 12 went to overtime before the Warriors prevailed 61-53. The second one was even closer, 56-52 on January 19.
Saturday night’s championship game between the Greater South Shore Conference rivals promises to have the house rocking early. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with game time at 7:30.