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Neuqua Valley's Najee Smith is surrounded by a trio of Bolingbrook defenders, Kennedy Cattenhead, Lexi Smith and Kamari Jordan during the first half of the two teams regional final on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Kennedy Cattenhead scored 21 points and Kristin Moore added 14 points and eight rebounds as Bolingbrook advanced to the supersectional for the ninth time in as many years with a 56-38 victory over Neuqua Valley Thursday in the Class 4A sectional at Oswego.
Bolingbrook (24-5) will face Whitney Young (27-4) Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Class 4A supersectional at Hinsdale Central.
Cattenhead, a 5-10 senior headed to Illinois, is one of the few holdovers from last year’s team that lost to Young in a four-overtime supersectional classic. She is determined to avoid a repeat
“I’m real excited (about playing Young),” she said. “We can’t miss going down twice in a row. Coach (Anthony) Smith is a person who says you always have to go out with heart, and I feel that last year we went out with a lot of heart and a lot of talent.
“But talent doesn’t always win games, and we have a lot of talent now but we also work harder than anybody else,” she added. “I feel like we can go get it done.”
Bolingbrook got it done Thursday with an 11-0 run in the second quarter fueled by a three-pointer by Destiny Harris and baskets by Lexi Smith and Cattenhead. The run extended a 14-13 lead to 25-14 and Neuqua Valley (27-4) never for closer than five points the rest of the way.
“It’s a different feeling this year,” Smith said. “This is work. Before we had some talent, some pretty good talent. These kids have really stepped up to the plate and they’re getting better. These kids are becoming all-area kids and all-state kids right before our eyes.”
Amarah Coleman added nine points for Bolingbrook, which went 19-of-25 from the free-throw line compared to Neuqua Valley’s frigid 5-of-14 shooting. Freshman Myia Starks led the Wildcats with eight points and Malia and Najee Smith each had seven.
”You have a certain character, a personality about a team,” Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams said. “They’ve been downstate. They play hard. They play aggressive. That’s just their style. Some things are going to happen. You’re not going to get the calls.
“But they did a lot of things that took us out of the game,” he added. “We had a great year with a bunch of young kids and one senior graduating and a lot of people coming back. Actually, this might make us a little hungrier. But that’s OK. We’ll be fine.”