2014 Girls State Final Preview
100 Days Later – 8 teams still stand – four from each class: 3A / 4A
March 6, 2014
Burlington Central (27-4) vs. Montini (32-2), 12:15 p.m.
Burlington Central is making its first appearance in the state finals, but it’s not likely to be the Rockets’ last. The Rockets’ has lots, I mean lots of young talent in the pipeline led by 6-foot sophomore Samantha Pryor, 5-8 sophomore guard Shelby Holt and 6-foot junior Alison Colby. They are facing a playoff-veteran, and State champion caliber team led by a pair of four-year players – 6-1 Kateri Stone and 6-2 Kelly Karlis – and featuring a deep and talented bench.
“Burlington Central is a nice young team that’s going to be hungry and eager to knock us off,” Nichols warned.
Joliet Catholic (27-2) vs. Quincy Notre Dame (29-3), 2 p.m.
Maybe it’s not the same team that won the Class 3A state title last year – 6-2 Jordan Frerichs and Kassidy Gengenbacher have both moved on – but there’s still enough talent at Quincy Notre Dame to make a serious bid for a fourth straight state title. The leaders of this year’s group are 5-11 senior Mary Beth Hugenberg and 5-10 senior Kristen Gengenbacher, who get a lot of help from 5-9 senior Cassidy Foley and her younger sister, freshman McKenzie Foley. Joliet Catholic has not been downstate since 1985. Quincy Notre Dame hasn’t missed since 2009. On the other side of the court, is a championship roster as well led by Michigan State-recruit Jasmine Lumpkin, who is averaging 18.3 points and 9.2 boards. And to add a little more fire power, teammate, Nicole Ekhomu, has superb court-vision orchestrating the offense and breaking down defenses. And to top it off, she’s a sophomore who’s averaging 14.3 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. This should be an exciting game.
3A players to watch: Burlington Central –- Sam Pryor, 6-0, So., F (14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds); Alison Colby, 6-0, Jr., F (8.2 points, 6.0 rebounds). Montini – Kateri Stone, 6-1, Sr., G (11.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 93 3-pointers); Kelly Karlis, 6-2, Sr., G (9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds). Joliet Catholic – Jasmine Lumpkin, 6-0, Sr., F (18.3 points, 9.2 rebounds); Nicole Ekhomu, 5-9, So. G (14.3 points, 3.0 assists, 2.8 steals). Quincy Notre Dame – Mary Beth Hugenberg, 5-11, Sr., F (16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds); Kristen Gengenbacher, 5-10, Sr., G (15.7 points, 3.5 assists).
Marian Catholic (27-4) vs. Young (30-3), 8:15p.m.
Dolphins seek revenge after being caught by the Spartans last year on the same court, same game as they loss 63-39…
Coach Corry Irvin said it plain and simple “We were horrible!”
Top-ranked Dolphins (30-3) will get a chance to avenge that loss when they face defending state champion Marian Catholic (27-4) in a Class 4A semifinal at Redbird Arena Friday at 8:15 p.m. The game will follow the 6:30 p.m. semifinal between Rolling Meadows (28-4) and Geneva (26-5).
Marian Catholic is riding a 14-game winning streak heading into the state finals. The Spartans have not lost since a 60-33 thumping at the hands of Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.) back on Jan. 11, although they needed a little late heroics to turn back Oak Lawn in overtime in the sectional finals. Teniya Page and Ashton Millender have carried the offensive load for first-year coach Dan Murray.
Geneva (26-5) vs. Rolling Meadows (28-4), 6:30 p.m.
Is there a hotter team around than Geneva? The Vikings have won 14 in a row and recently got Michaela Loebel back off the DL. Grace Loberg has been a revelation for the Vikings. Since coming up to the varsity, the 6-2 freshman has averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game. But the Vikings are facing a team that has a little bit of incentive after losing in the final seconds of the 2013 state title game. “We’ve used that game as motivation,” Rolling Meadows’ Jackie Kemph said.
4A players to watch: Geneva — Grace Loberg, 6-2, Fr., C (14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds); Morgan Seberger, 5-11, Sr., G (11.0 points, 53 3-pointers). Rolling Meadows — Jackie Kemph, 5-6, Sr., G (21.2 points, 8.3 assists); Jenny Vliet, 6-2, Sr., F (14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds). Young — Khaalia Hillsman, 6-5, Sr., C (13.4 points, 14.4 rebounds); Kiara Lewis, 5-8, So., G (12.1 points, 8.3 assists). Marian Catholic — Ashton Millender, 5-10, Sr., G (16.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 62 3-pointers); Teniya Page, 5-7, Sr., G (15.1 points, 4.7 assists).
To see there road traveled to the Illinois State semifinals… click here!
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