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Young was just a little too strong and a little too deep for previously unbeaten Joliet Catholic.
Kiara Lewis, Taylor Brame and Madinah Muhammad each had 13 points as the No. 3 Dolphins built an 11-point lead and never looked back in a 75-53 victory over the No. 4 Angels Saturday at the City/Suburban Shootout at Chicago State.
Young’s 6-5 Khaalia Hillsman added 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks despite battling some foul trouble in the third quarter.
“We’re just trying to be a better team each day,” Young coach Corry Irvin said. “We’re just trying to be better than we were a couple of weeks ago or last week or whatever. We’re trying to get everyone to commit to doing a little bit more than what they were doing.”
What Young did Saturday was take charge early. The Dolphins built a 22-11 lead after eight minutes and opened a 30-18 advantage on a Brame basket. But the young Angels wouldn’t go away, pulling within 34-26 on consecutive baskets by Ty Battle.
A Kiara Lewis three-pointer gave the Dolphins (18-3) a 37-26 lead with 37 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but Young had to settle for a 37-28 lead at the break following two free throws by Nicole Ekhomu with 4.9 seconds left.
“What helped a lot is that were we able to go small, then go big,” Irvin said. “When Khaalia gets into foul trouble sometimes we can only play one way. We’re getting better at being able to play more than one way.”
Young didn’t waste any time expanding the lead in the third quarter. A rebound basket by Tanita Allen pushed the lead to 50-37 with 2:08 remaining in the period, and freshman Finess Dickson went coast-to-coast and beat the buzzer to extend the lead to 54-39.
By the time Lewis put back a missed shot with 3:26 remaining in the game, Young’s lead had swollen to 69-46, prompting both teams to clear their benches.
Jasmine Lumpkin led Joliet Catholic (20-1) with 17 points and five rebounds. Ekhomu added 10 points and Battle had eight points, all in the second quarter.
“This was a good experience for our kids, being in this venue,” Joliet Catholic coach Ed Schodrof said. “I don’t regret scheduling this game at all. We are trying to be at the level of program as Young or Bolingbrook of the past. We respect them.
“The difference in this game was their aggressiveness and their strength. We chipped the lead down to nine. We had a chance. We were in the game. They just had a little too much for us in the second half. There’s some things we got to work on. We got to play harder, too.”