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Providence's Lauren Malick (10) and Joliet Catholic's Christine Ekhomu attempt to get a loose ball at Joliet Catholic High School in Joliet, Illinois, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. | Michael DiNovo~For Sun-Times Media
The combination of full-court pressure and 6-foot junior Jasmine Lumpkin inside makes the Joliet Catholic girls basketball team a force.
Visiting Providence learned that firsthand in Saturday’s East Suburban Catholic matchup. After a strong second quarter rallied the Celtics to within 27-23 at halftime, the Angels turned up the heat in the third quarter and coasted to a 62-38 victory.
Lumpkin scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half and grabbed 15 rebounds.
“She’s definitely one of the most talented girls we have played,” Providence coach Eileen Copenhaver said.
“Our coach [Ed Schodrof] talked to us at halftime that we had to start punishing them, not let them get back in it,” Lumpkin said. “It was a matter of handling their pressure and applying pressure ourselves, and that got us more in control.”
Lumpkin agreed she is a player who thrives when she can get in a rhythm.
“I feed off my teammates, they got me the ball and the home crowd helped,” she said. “We needed this after we lost to Marian [on Tuesday].”
“This was the biggest crowd here in my five years, and we’re grateful for that,” Schodrof said. “There was some noise, a good atmosphere.”
The Angels (15-2, 5-1) were guilty of 11 turnovers in the second quarter, when their 22-6 lead dwindled to four at half. Schodrof described that quarter as “terrrible.”
“Providence played a nice first half and played hard all game,” he said. “The second half we were able to dominate. When we do things right in the full court, it looks pretty good. But it was a little disappointing we didn’t play hard for all four quarters.”
Freshman guard Nicole Ekhomu scored 14 points and senior forward Mary Susan Rouse 10 for Joliet Catholic, which outrebounded Providence 45-20.
“Credit JCA,” Copenhaver said. “They got into their rhythm in the third and fourth quarters. Their kids are tough, quick, they rebound and they put pressure on you.”
Senior forward Alex Shemulis scored 10 points, all in the second quarter, and sophomore guard Alyssa Jurges contributed eight for the Celtics (9-10, 1-3), who lost junior forward Marybeth Galick to what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the first quarter. She was taken to the hospital for X-rays.