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Joliet Catholic's Jasmine Lumpkin gets some air as she lays the ball off the glass. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
With Jasmine Lumpkin and Nicole Ekhomu averaging a combined 38 points per game, Joliet Catholic coach Ed Schodrof hasn’t needed his supporting cast to carry the scoring load.
He just needs them to contribute each and every game.
“For us to be successful, we need the rest of the starting lineup and some kids off the bench have to hit a few shots,” Schodrof said. “If they’re scoring six or seven points each to complement Jasmine and Nicole, that’s our game plan.”
On a night when the Angels’ two leading scorers were held in relative check, it was the supporting cast stepping up, leading the way in a 51-34 nonconference road win against Minooka.
Mary Susan Rouse scored 18 points for No. 11 Joliet Catholic (16-2) with Lumpkin (13 points, four steals), Christina Ekhomu (eight points, seven rebounds), Nicole Ekhomu (seven points) and Destiny Nash (four points) contributing.
“When Jasmine and Nicole get taken out of the game (offensively), we know we have to step up,” Rouse said. “I was able to do that when I got some looks.”
Taken out of their fast breaking, pressure game plan, the Angels held a slim 36-31 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Following a Nicole Ekhomu steal and bucket, Rouse shook off her shooting woes, drilling a three-pointer at the top of the key.
Following a Minooka turnover, a cutting Rouse hit a short jumper in the lane on a nice pass from Trevonya McClain. The quick offensive burst was just the start as Joliet Catholic opened the fourth on a 15-0 run.
“We got a little down (early), but we really started to play together on offense,” Rouse said. “We were tired, but we were able to run the floor, and that’s what we need to do to win.”
Minooka (7-14) was paced by Larissa McLemen’s 20 points, but no other played scored more than four in the loss.
“We simply stopped scoring, and against a team like JCA, you just can’t do that,” Minooka coach Ray Liberatore said. “They’ve got too many weapons, and they’ll find a way to put the ball in the basket.”