The Skinny: Marist’s JeTaun Rouse played with a sore knee. She delivered a performance that left Lincoln-Way East feeling the pain of what might have been in a 52-32 RedHawk victory in the championship game of the Class 4A Sandburg Sectional. Rouse scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter on Thursday night as the RedHawks won their first sectional title since 2008. She poured in seven straight points in a personal highlight reel-like surge that included a 3-pointer from just in front of the Marist student body and two straight steals that she turned into layups. The RedHawks used a 1-3-1 defense to prevent Lincoln-Way East from penetrating the lane and crashed the boards on offense to generate second-chance points.
Patch’s MVP: JeTaun Rouse, 5-9 junior guard, Marist. Rouse scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. She drained two 3-pointers during the stretch and went on a 7-0 scoring run all by herself to deflate East after the Griffins tried to inch back from a 30-15 halftime deficit.
Key Moments: Marist used an 8-2 run to end the first quarter and then started the second with a 7-0 flurry. The RedHawks didn’t shoot particularly well in the first half (13-of-43) but built a 30-15 lead on the strength of offensive rebounding. Asia Bey, a 6-1 senior forward, grabbed nine of her 10 rebounds in the first half. Marist finished with 21 offensive rebounds. RedHawk junior guard Claire Ryan limited Lincoln-Way East’s Taylor Johnson to 10 points, seven of those coming in the second half.
Lincoln-Way East Leaders: Caitlin McMahon (16 points, 3 rebounds), Taylor Johnson (10 points, 7 in the second half), Meaghan McMahon (4 points, 4 rebounds).
Marist Leaders: JeTaun Rouse (17 points, 2 3-pointers, 7-of-16 shooting), Leah Bolton (11 points, 7 rebounds), Randyll Butler (9 points, 6 rebounds), Asia Bey (4 points, 10 rebounds).
Quotable I: “It felt great,” JeTaun Rouse said of her mini-run, triggered by a 3-pointer from in front of the Marist student section. “Yeah, I heard them. It motivated me to shoot another one. And the second time it went in. So, I felt pretty confident from there on out.”
Quotable II: “I’ll tell you, if I had the game ball, which I do, I’d give it to Claire Ryan,” Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly said. “Our whole game plan was to stop Taylor Johnson and force her to the right side of the floor because she always wants to drive left. We held Taylor Johnson under her average, and that has to do with Claire Ryan playing defense on her.”
Quotable III: “Disappointed in tonight, but we got beat,” Lincoln-Way East coach Jim Martin said. “We talked about their athleticism, and it hurt us. You can’t throw the long passes and you can’t give them 20 offensive rebounds and expect to win—and the turnovers we had. So, we just got beat.”
Quotable IV: “When you get a crowd like this and the kids come out, you know you’ve done something and you’ve accomplished something,” Lincoln-Way East coach Jim Martin said. “I’d like to thank our school, our fans—our parents have been awesome this year. That’s why our kids are so good because they have great parents.”
Team Records: Marist is 32-1. Lincoln-Way East finishes 26-5. The Griffins tied a school single-season record for most wins with 26.
What’s Next: Marist moves on to face Edwardsville in the Class 4A Illinois Wesleyan Supersectional. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27. Edwardsville defeated Moline 59-30.