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Host Lincoln-Way East's Meaghan McMahon keeps the ball away from Lincoln-Way North defenders in Saturday's title game- Jean Lachat
Like most bench players, Lincoln-Way East’s Dana O’Grady would rather be starting.
Off the bench or in the starting lineup, the senior intends to make the most of her time on the court.
With Lincoln-Way East leading scorer Meaghan McMahon sitting with foul trouble, O’Grady and East’s supporting cast stepped up in Saturday’s Medieval Classic championship game as the host Griffins took down rival Lincoln-Way North 57-46.
“I have to come off the bench with a spark to start the defense,” O’Grady said. “We need that defensive spark to help our shots start falling. When I go in, I want to go.”
The tournament MVP, McMahon still managed a game-high 16 points, 12 in the first half, with Kara Krolicki (15 points), O’Grady (10 points) and Marissa DeGroot (six points, 11 rebounds) contributing for No. 23 Lincoln-Way East (12-1).
The tourney title was the fifth in a row for the Griffins, and the fourth straight over Lincoln-Way North.
McMahon picked up her third foul seconds into the third quarter, prompting O’Grady’s entrance with a 22-21 deficit. The senior guard made the most of her appearance, drilling two three-pointers and a midrange jumper in the third.
“My defense usually starts up my game,” O’Grady said. “Once I get going defensively, I can knock down my shots.”
Held to just three points through three quarters, Krolicki exploded for 12 in the fourth quarter alone including two three-pointers that helped East blow open the game. The Griffins outscored North 22-12 in the fourth.
“We’re close off the court as a team, and that helps when we step on the court,” Krolicki said. “With Meaghan going down with fouls, we definitely knew we had to pick her up.”
Sam Pietruszynski led Lincoln-Way North (14-2) with 15 points with Valen Manns (13) and Ellen Graham (10) contributing. The Phoenix finished 19-of-45 from the floor.
“East did a good job matching up and taking away some things we like to do,” Lincoln-Way North coach Jim Nair said. “We were a little out of rhythm offensively, and defensively, they hit some shots.”
Andrew 66, Lincoln-Way Central 65: Molly Franson poured in 30 points for Andrew (10-3) with Nicole Dominguez adding 14 in the third place game. Candace Finnin led Lincoln-Way Central (7-7) with 22 points.
Lincoln-Way West 46, Plainfield South 33: Brittany Michalski (nine points), Emily Ray (eight points) and Amanda Hozzian (eight points) paced Lincoln-Way West (7-7) in the fifth place game. Alexandria Tarrant had 14 for Plainfield South (3-13).