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Millender helps Marian Catholic clinch crown

02/09/2013, 5:19pm CST
By Tony Baranek tbaranek@southtownstar.com

Marian Catholic got contributions from its bench, as it cruised past Fenwick 73-49 to clinch the East Suburban Catholic Conference title. The spartans held Fenwick to five fourth-quarter points.

Marian Catholic junior Ashton Millender stepped aside from her usual role Saturday so that an all-senior starting lineup could represent the Spartans on Senior Day.

Once she did get into the game, however, she stepped all over Fenwick.

Millender’s first basket helped the Spartans begin their rally from an early five-point deficit. By halftime, the Spartans were rolling and on their way to a 73-49 victory that clinched the East Suburban Catholic Conference title.

“I just wanted to come off the bench strong,” said Millender, who finished with 15 points. “This was big for us. If we wanted to be conference champs, we had to come out strong.”

Other leaders for the Spartans (26-1, 9-0) were Teniya Page (17 points), Melanie Ransom (13 points, 8 rebounds), Aliyah Issac (9 points) and Megan Walsh (8 points).

Jade Owens scored 20 points and Jennifer Mackowiak 12 for Fenwick (22-6, 7-2).

The all-senior lineup for Marian struck quickly as Nicole Narcissi swished a three and Walsh a jumper to give the Spartans a 5-0 lead. But Fenwick, fueled by back-to-back threes by Mackowiak and Maya Garland, responded with a 10-0 run, prompting Marian coach Annie Byrne to send out Millender and Page.

Millender personally put the Spartans back in front, hitting for a three and two field goals in a 7-0 burst. It was tied at 13-13 when Ransom broke it for the final time with back-to-back layups.

Marian would go on to lead by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, before settling for a 39-30 advantage at the half. But whatever doubt there might have been was erased by an 11-point explosion by Page in the third period.

“I was open. They were overplaying everybody, and it was my chance to shoot,” Page said. “So I took the shots. Even though I’m a point guard doesn’t always mean I have to pass first.”

Marian’s defense put the final stamp on the win, holding Fenwick to just five fourth-quarter points.

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