The mid-range jumper has become a dying art in recent years, but Immaculate Conception has made it its bread and butter.
IC feasted on shots from 10-15 feet Wednesday night and cruised to a 52-26 victory over Walther Christian in the semifinals of the Class 2A IC Regional in Elmhurst.
“We’re not a three-point shooting team,” IC coach Aubree Schuett said. “We shoot them, but mid-range jump shots, that’s what we do every day.”
It’s what the top-seeded Knights (21-6) did on seemingly every possession and it worked like a charm. After missing their first four attempts, the Knights sank 11 of their next 12 and 14 of their next 19 to seize a 33-19 halftime lead.
Seven different players made at least one shot before intermission, with Chiara Gaudio scoring all of her team-high nine points and Abby Radoha all of her seven. Radoha made her first three shots, two of which came during an 11-0 run in the first quarter.
“We encourage shooting,” Radoha said. “Usually we miss our first couple shots but everyone is so encouraging. They tell us to take more and usually once we get in our groove, that’s when we hit them.”
And the emphasis was on the “we” in this one. Six different players scored at least six points for the Knights, with Grace Vitek tallying eight, Erin Maloney and Anjella Farmer seven.
That was a result of some great passing. IC had 17 assists while fourth-seeded Walther (6-19) had none.
“I personally love getting assists,” said Radoha, who had three, as did Gaudio and Maloney. “That’s like my favorite [stat], over shooting. It’s really nice to get assists and we’ve been working a lot on that in practice.”
The Knights, who have won 11 straight, had beaten the Broncos 47-28 on Feb. 3 but with a much different approach.
“The last time we played them, [center] Rory [Manion] had 20, so we knew their biggest issue was they were going to come out and shut down Rory,” Schuett said. “So we had to make something else work and the kids did that.”
Manion took just two shots and scored two points but added five assists and a game-high eight rebounds.
Guard Dana Turner led Walther with 20 points but was just 4-for-17 from the floor in the first half.