Joliet Catholic has lofty goals this season, goals that hopefully include a trip to Normal in March.
For now, the Angels will settle for some revenge.
Having lost to Bishop McNamara in upset fashion last season in the sectionals, Joliet Catholic rolled to a dominating 85-46 win over the Fighting Irish Wednesday at the Rich South Galaxy Tournament championship.
“Yeah, last year was just terrible,” Joliet Catholic’s Nicole Ekhomu said. “We were picked to win that game, and it got to our heads. Tonight, we came out very hyped.”
Ekhomu and Jasmine Lumpkin scored 19 points apiece for Joliet Catholic (3-0) with Ty Battle (12 points), Andriana Acosta (10), Christina Ekhomu (8) and Jnaya Walker (8) contributing.
Exacting some revenge, the Angels were dominant, but Lumpkin knows there’s more to come.
“It was revenge, but we can’t settle,” Lumpkin, the tournament MVP, said. “We’ll play them again in the season [in the ESCC], and they’ll be looking for revenge. It is a great feeling beating them.”
That great feeling kicked in to start the second quarter Wednesday, the Angels blowing open a close game. Holding a slim 20-16 lead heading into the frame, the Joliet Catholic defense took over.
A frenetic pressure defense helped force 10 turnovers in the quarter. Lumpkin, Nicole Ekhomu and Battle combined to score all 27 of Joliet Catholic’s points on a series of fast breaks and layups set up by the defense.
“Our defensive pressure was what helped us win,” Lumpkin said. “It causes havoc, and we’re able to get easy turnovers and easy steals for easy buckets.”
Ekhomu’s corner three-pointer with 2:06 remaining in the second put JCA up 41-20, capping an impressive 21-2 run for the Angels.
“Our style of play, we’re a fly around type of team,” Nicole Ekhomu said. “We’ve got the players to do it, players who get down on the floor, who kick the ball out to our guards [and get things going].”
Joliet Catholic took a commanding 47-25 halftime lead, never looking back on the way to its tournament championship.
Khadaizha Sanders scored 16 points to lead Bishop McNamara (3-1), Kyleigh Payne chipping in with eight points.