2012 IL Girls 4A Championship: Whitney Young are champions again and go undefeated

Posted on March 1, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2012 Girls Class 4A Basketball Championship Game

March 3, 2012

Whitney Young Dolphins (34-0) wins the Girls 4A State championship 63-51 over Edwardsville (34-2) behind the hot hands of junior guard Linnae Harper, who had a double-double, 14 points and 14 boards. Coming into this game, Young had 6’2″ Emmonnie Henderson at the top of their chart in order to win.

“(The plan was) just to play hard, try to get around her, try to find her weakness,” Harper said of Henderson, who set the Class 4A tournament record Friday with 20 rebounds. “I tried to see what I could do knowing that I was smaller than her. I just had to box out and use my strength against her.”

The Tigers might have known they were in trouble early in the first half, when Henderson drove the lane into three defenders and was called for traveling. Edwardsville committed 11 first-half turnovers.

The Dolphins were in full control of this contest jumping out to a 24-9 lead with 4:51 to play in the second period. Their fast-paced, guards Janee Thompson (McDonald’s All-American) and Harper, are just too much for Edwardsville (34-1) physical play and height. They are able to get them off their spots and score the ball in the paint. The Dolphins scored 22 points in the paint in the first half to the Tigers 10, and on top of the height difference, Young control the boards 25-18 including 15 offensive.

At the half, it’s the Dolphins with a commanding lead of 34-12 with Alexis Lloyd with the hot hand. She has 9, followed by Harper who has 7. On the other side of the ball, Aaliyah Covington has the high score of 5. Also for Edwardsville, 6’2″ junior Emmonnie Henderson has 4 fouls, which shorten her play in the first half.
“Our plan was to stop (Thompson) and (Lloyd), and we did a good job on that,” Henderson said. “It was just the rebounding we had a little trouble with. Yeah, (Harper) is a good player, but that was on our part she got so many rebounds.”

On a positive note, Ashia Jones’ 12 fourth-quarter points helped cut the deficit down but not enough to be a threat. In addition, the Tigers outscored the Dolphins in the third period 13-9, and 26-18 in the fourth. Overall, neither team shot the ball well, 40.3% for Young, and 41.7% for the Tigers.

Jones finished the game with a quiet double-double of her own: 18 points, 11 rebounds.

 “I’m sure this will go down in history as one of the best teams in Illinois,” coach Irvin said. “I’m proud of this team.”

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