GIRLS BASKETBALL

Walsh, defense lead Marian Catholic to state bid

2013-02-25T21:30:00Z 2014-05-20T21:45:25Z Walsh, defense lead Marian Catholic to state bidMike Egenes Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 25, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

BLOOMINGTON | Marian Catholic girls basketball coach Annie Byrne gave her senior captain Megan Walsh a big bear hug and these words: “I told you we would get there.”

It was a reminder of an early season promise. And that promise was made good Monday night as the Spartans pulled away from Peoria Richwoods in the second half for a 56-37 triumph in the Class 4A Illinois Wesleyan Supersectional at Shirk Center.

The victory gives the Spartans (31-1) a trip to Bloomington-Normal on Friday for a state semifinal game at Redbird Arena on Illinois State’s campus. Marian faces Whitney Young, which won 61-60 in overtime over Bolingbrook. Game time is 8:15 p.m.

It is Marian’s first state berth since 2007 and the first trip for Walsh and her teammates.

“I can’t believe it,” said Walsh, who finished with a game-high 13 points while negotiating most of the second half with four fouls. “This means everything. I’ve tried for three years to get downstate. Just unbelievable.”

In a game marred by 41 fouls and 35 turnovers, it was Walsh who collected her fourth foul at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter. Byrne brought her to the bench, but didn’t leave her there long. Walsh was re-inserted into the lineup with 4:36 left in the third quarter.

“There are a lot of people who think I’m crazy for a lot of reasons,” Byrne said. “But she’s my gamer. She’s the most experienced, a three-year starter. I just have to trust her. I knew in that moment she would make the right decisions.”

That she did, collecting six rebounds and blocking two shots in addition to her scoring and inside presence.

The Spartans’ foul problems stemmed from their smothering defensive pressure, but it also forced Richwoods (26-7) into 11 of 48 shooting (23 percent) for the game.

“Their defense was tenacious,” first-year Richwoods coach Heather Cassady said. “We weren’t able to get many transition buckets like we normally do. They were just in up in our face and their ball pressure was amazing.”

Marian built a 25-15 halftime lead, capped by a steal and 15-foot runner at the horn by sophomore point guard Teniya Page, who finished with nine points and three assists.

“‘T’ is such a phenomenal player,” Walsh said. “She keeps her head in the game at all times. That was a big basket that really picked us up.”

The Spartans held Richwoods to two baskets in the third quarter until guard Brenna Detra hit a runner of her own at the third-quarter horn to cut the Marian lead to 34-25. That was the only bucket of the game for Detra, who averages nearly 13 points per game.

Walsh opened the fourth quarter with a running scoop shot that started a 14-6 run to begin the fourth quarter as Marian went 12 of 16 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

Ashton Millender had 12 points, while Kauai Bradley led the Spartans with eight rebounds.

“We had the worst season in my eight years at 21-11 last season,” Byrne said. “The players decided they would stay together all spring and summer to work really hard to get to where they wanted to be and that’s the final four.”

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best girls soccer team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses