NORMAL | Dan Murray took over a girls basketball program coming off a state championship, with stars and key contributors returning for a shot at repeat glory.
Moving mountains might seem a lesser challenge.
As coach of the Marian Catholic girls basketball team, Murray wasn’t able to match Annie Byrne’s state title from a year ago. But the third-place trophy won’t look bad at all in the school trophy case after the Spartans’ triumph over Geneva in the Class 4A third-place game Saturday night at Redbird Arena.
Murray, who won four regional titles, had three 20-win seasons at Immaculate Conception, and two 20-win seasons at Lisle, credited his players for accepting him.
“It was a pretty daunting task,” Murray said. “Expectations were extremely high. But the girls made my job so much easier because from Day 1, they bought into what I was trying to bring to the program and some of the adjustments and changes.”
He said there was never any questioning of his new methods.
“At no point was there ‘Why are we doing this? We won doing it a different way’ from them,” Murray said. “I really thank them for adjusting.”
“It wasn’t hard,” said junior guard Kauai Bradley. “It was just a matter of adjusting to each other. As you can see, it worked out.”
Marian’s Millender, Page named to all-state team: One of the best duos in the state received their just due by being named to the Associated Press 3A/4A All-State Team on Saturday.
Junior point guard Teniya Page and senior forward Ashton Millender were named to the second team, capping a career that includes three state trophies.
Millender led the Spartans in scoring with 16.4 points per game, while Page had a 15.1 scoring average and led Marian with 145 assists.
The first team included seniors Khaalia Hillsman (Chicago Whitney Young), Jackie Kemph (Rolling Meadows), Kortney Dunbar (Edwardsville), Megan Waldron (Wheaton Warrenville South) and junior Haley Gorecki (Palatine Fremd).
Seniors Liza Fruendt (Batavia), Aysyia Bugg (Bolingbrook) and Chrissy Baird (Wheaton North) rounded out the second team.