NORMAL | The Marian Catholic girls basketball team has perfected the art of the buzzer-beater.
Alive in the postseason on the strength of a half-court basket at the horn in the sectional finals against Marist, the Spartans amazingly did it again Saturday night to win the Class 4A state championship.
Sophomore forward Kauai Bradley beat the regulation horn with an 8-foot basket to give Marian Catholic a 48-47 victory over Rolling Meadows on Saturday night at Redbird Arena.
“Just goes to show the harder you work, the luckier you get,” Marian Catholic coach Annie Byrne said. “Our girls were fortunate that last shot trickled in. One or two good opportunities was all we were looking for there.”
They got three.
Bradley’s heroics came after Marian called a timeout with 11.1 seconds left in regulation. Guard Teniya Page took the inbound pass but misfired on a crowded baseline drive. Senior forward Megan Walsh gathered the rebound only to leave a knuckling shot short.
But that’s where Bradley was positioned perfectly, putting up the charmed shot attempt that trickled into the basket with less than a second showing, setting off a wild scene on the floor as the Spartans celebrated the school’s first girls state title.
“I was praying it would go in,” said Bradley, who had a game-high 11 rebounds. “I’m just speechless right now.”
The win avenged the Spartans’ lone loss, a 61-58 setback to Rolling Meadows (30-4) on Dec. 28 in the Lombard Montini Classic. That loss set Marian Catholic (33-1) off on a 20-game winning streak to end the season -- none sweeter than Saturday’s season-ending triumph.
“It feels great to beat Rolling Meadows, since they were our only loss of the season,” Walsh said. “They’re a great team. They’ll be great again next season as well.”
The game featured eight ties and nine lead changes. Rolling Meadows took its last lead of 47-46 when 6-2 forward Jenny Vliet got free inside off an inbounds play with 25 seconds left.
That set up the game-winner at the other end and a flashback to the hope that the win in the sectional provided.
“I was thinking about the Marist game, and I feel like that helped us believe,” Walsh said. “It showed us to never give up and that anything is possible.”
Marian Catholic finished the first half with a flurry to take its largest lead at 27-19, but Rolling Meadows junior Alexis Glasgow took over the third quarter. She scored 13 points, including a 3-pointer at the horn that gave the Mustangs a 38-35 advantage. Glasgow had a game-high 24 points.
“When they got hot in the third quarter ... I didn’t doubt, but I knew we would have to step it up,” said Walsh, who finished with eight points and eight rebounds.”
Sophomore guard Teniya Page led Marian with 13 points and four assists. Ashton Millender, who had a career-high 29 points in the semifinal on Friday, added 12 points.
Chicago Whitney Young took the third-place game with a 60-27 win over Huntley. Whitney Young all-stater Linnae Harper had a game-high 27 points.
Quincy Notre Dame (30-0) won its third straight state championship with a 62-45 victory over Vernon Hills in the Class 3A title game. QND won the 2A title the past two seasons.Lombard Montini defeated Morton, 42-38, in the third-place game.