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Providence Catholic's #23, Alyssa Jurges dribbles away from Joliet West's #5, Treanna Perry, during their game at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, IL on Monday January 7, 2013. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Providence coach Eileen Copenhaver knows senior guard Alex Shermulis can score.
Her Celtics teammates know it, too.
A team captain and three-year varsity player, Shermulis certainly knows, but sometimes it’s just a matter of a few shots dropping.
Scoring 18 points and adding four steals and four assists on a night when her teammates struggled from the field, Shermulis’ effort helped power Providence to a 48-39 win Monday over Joliet West in New Lenox.
“Coach Copenhaver has challenged me to take more of an offensive role,” Shermulis said. “I’m trying to step up because we need the points. It’s nice to have the green light from my teammates. I have their back and they have mine.”
Shermulis averages a little more than 6 points per game. She scored 24 in a game last week against St. Viator, then tacked on Monday’s 18-point performance.
“The ball is starting to drop for her, and she’s got the capability,” Copenhaver said. “She’s doing a good job mixing up her attack inside and out.”
Brittney Boggetto and Alyssa Jurges scored eight points apiece for Providence (8-9). The Celtics finished 16-of-52 from the floor.
A 10-point Providence advantage heading into the fourth quickly disappeared as Joliet West scored six straight points in lightning-quick fashion. Boggetto answered with two free throws, Lauren Malick (6 points) added a three-point play on a nice driving bank shot before Shermulis scored on a hard drive to the basket to help the Celtics regain control.
“It’s just a big energy boost that everyone is contributing,” Shermulis said. “It’s not just the first five. It’s the whole team.”
Joliet West (5-9) got as close late as 44-37 with 1:52 to go, but Boggetto sank two more free throws.
Monica Barefield (11 points), Tay Wright (9) and Aaliyah Stepney (8) led the Tigers, who committed 32 turnovers and shot 14-of-43 from the field.
“Holding on to the ball has been our problem all season,” West coach Kevin Michaels said. “We kill ourselves with bad passes or not catching the ball.”