Two to go for history.
Dorothy Gaters has been such a trailblazer in her sport, she typically stands outside history. So much so she had the presence of mind and equanimity to make light of her greatest achievement.
The day began with the assumption the legendary Marshall girls coach was one win away from becoming the first Illinois high school coach in either boys or girls to register a landmark 1,000-career victories.
Marshall officials combed through the record books and realized Gaters’ career mark entering the Commandos’ regional semifinal against Westinghouse was 997-177.
“I wish it were just one win, so I could get it out of the way and we could look past,” Gaters said. “The way we are playing I might have to wait until next year.”
Two was also the operative number as the Commandos utilized two dominant runs the upset-minded host Warriors could not overcome as senior guard Chanel Khammarath powered Marshall to the 69-45 victory in a Class 3A regional semifinal Wednesday at Westinghouse.
Marshall (21-7) appeared to run the Warriors off the floor after the Commandos blitzed Westinghouse with a 22-0 first quarter run after the teams traded early lead changes for a 26-5 lead.
Khammarath scored nine of her 18 in the opening quarter.
Then something strange and unexpected happened. The Warriors (7-15) refused to fold as guard LaDerricka Brown ignited an uprising. She drained four three-pointers in the second quarter and scored all 14 of her points as Westinghouse scored the first eight points of the quarter and astonishingly held the Commandos scoreless from the field.
Brown and junior post player Tiera McGowan scored all 20 of the Warriors’ points in the second quarter. In turn, Westinghouse limited the Commandos to just three free throws. McGowan scored on three consecutive post plays and Brown nailed her final three-pointer that pulled Westinghouse within 29-25 at the break.
Khammarath got untracked to start the second half, scoring on a putback and her own three-pointer as Marshall awoke from its offensive drought.
“At halftime we just gathered the players and said we had to play with more togetherness and cohesion and get back on defense,” she said.
Marshall also deployed a triangle and two defense that effectively shut out Brown, who failed to get a shot attempt in the second half. “We wanted to take away their shooters and not them drive and kick the ball out to the open players,” Khammarath said.
Marshall hit the Warriors with another big run, a 13-0 burst to end the third quarter and the Warriors never recovered from the 49-32 deficit. Forward Juliunn Redmond scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half for the Commandos. Redmond scored seven straight points in the third quarter barrage.
Guard Temya Russell and forward Tekia Mack scored eight points each for the Commandos. Seven of the eight Marshall players that dressed scored.
Danah Ford added eight points for the Warriors.
Marshall advances to play St. Joseph.