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Marian Catholic coach Annie Byrne took 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Teniya Page aside early in the Spartans’ third-place game against Plainfield East at the Montini Christmas Tournament Saturday in Lombard.
What did Byrne say?
“Honestly, I don’t remember,” Page said.
Page scored 13 points of her team-high 15 points in the first half to power Marian Catholic to a 58-47 victory over the Bengals.
Marian Catholic (14-1) raced to an 8-2 lead with 5:15 remaining in the first quarter, but Plainfield East answered with a 12-2 run over the next 4:15 to build a 14-10 lead. The lead was short-lived, however, as Page led the Spartans on a 17-5 run to close out the first half.
“In my opinion, if Teniya wanted to, she has the ability to take over a game,” Marian coach Annie Byrne said. “Her just attacking the basket sometime is one of our best offenses because she’s such a playmaker.
“She’s got a great first step, the ability to pull up for jumpshot right off the dribble, she has the ability to kick it back out, she’s got great peripheral vision,” Byrne added. “I just remind her always be offensive-minded, always look to be a threat.”
While Page was being a threat on the offensive end, her teammates stymied Plainfield East’s offense, especially with the Bengals’ Nikia Edom spending long stretches on the bench with foul trouble.
The Spartans’ defense limited Plainfield East to 11 points for an 18-minute span from the one-minute mark of the first quarter through the first minute of the fourth quarter
“Three things about our defense,” Byrne said. “Our guards did a great job pressuring their perimeter players, (Kauai) Bradley did a great on Faith Suggs, and I thought Megan Walsh did a great job on their big kid (Gabby Williams).
“All those kids accepted their responsibility and did a great job,” she said.
Marian Catholic extended the lead to 43-25 early in the fourth quarter before Edom (18 points, three steals) tried to rally the Bengals, getting Plainfield East within 52-44 with under a minute remaining. But Edom picked up her fifth foul and the Bengals hopes went with her to the bench.
“We didn’t shoot well, partly because of their defense and partly because we didn’t focus on our shots,” Plainfield East coach Missy Mitidiero said. “We shot 23 percent throughout the whole game and only 12 percent in the first half. You’re not going to win many games shooting like that.
“Then we didn’t pick it up on the defensive end,” Mitidiero added. “We have a lot to work on, especially if we think we’re a top 10 team. We’ve got to get down to the nitty-gritty of playing basketball, getting hard-nosed and all that kind of stuff.”
Ashton Millender added 10 points and seven rebounds and Walsh had nine points for Marian Catholic. Williams added nine points and eight rebounds for Plainfield East (13-2), which got eight points and six rebounds from Suggs.