Evanston falls to Rolling Meadows in supersectional
02/25/2013 Skokie Rolling Meadows junior Jenny Vlict (11) grabs a rebound in the second half of the super sectional playoff game against Evanston at Niles West High School on Monday, February 25, 2013. Rolling Meadows defeated Evanston 54-31 and will advance to the state finals. | Michael Jarecki ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 27, 2013 8:50PM
SKOKIE — Jenny Vliet was all that the Rolling Meadows girls basketball fans could have asked for and more on Monday in leading the Mustangs to a 54-31 victory over Evanston in the Class 4A Niles West Supersectional.
The junior forward finished the game with 14 points, but more importantly, she dominated the boards against the Wildkits. Fellow junior forward Ashley Montanez also played a critical role, beautifully denying the ball inside, which is where Evanston senior center Alecia Cooley can be so dominant.
“I mean we saw Cooley and she beat up on (Maine South’s Jacqui) Grant the other night, and we were like: Are we going to have to double? What are we going to have to do to her?” Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky said. “And I thought Ashley, for the most part, handled her great on her own.”
Cooley finished with eight points, including just two in the second half, and Rolling Meadows pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Evanston 16-6. Evanston junior guard Sierra Clayborn contributed to the effort with two 3-pointers and junior guard Dashae Shumate scored five points in the second quarter, but ultimately the Mustangs’ defense was simply too tight.
“Our kids bought into our game plan,” Kirkorsky said. “It was defensive rebounding. It wasn’t necessarily pretty on the offensive end, but we played great defense and hit the defensive boards.”
The Wildkits hung around at first. After trailing early 10-3, Clayborn knocked down a 3-pointer and Cooley pivoted around her defender for a layup and then swished a short jumper to draw Evanston within two points. Cooley began the second quarter with a bank shot as well, but the Mustangs answered with a layup from Vliet and a beautiful pass inside from Jackie Kemph to Montanez. A floater by Shumate drew Evanston within three early in the second quarter, but Rolling Meadows responded with a 17-3 run. Fittingly, it was Montanez capping off the run on the boards, putting back a miss from junior guard Alexis Glasgow to double up on the Wildkits.
So ends a historic season for Evanston. The Wildkits were outright CSL South champions and sectional champions for the first time since 2000, and they came just short of their first trip to state since 1990-91.
“We picked a bad time to really not play well,” Evanston coach Elliott Whitefield said. “We did a lot of standing around offensively and defensively. Part of it was, I’m sure, us, but I’m sure most of it is because of what they were doing.”
For the Mustangs, the journey only continues as they make the trip to Normal to take on Huntley, which defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 47-43 in their supersectional contest.
“This is a dream for a coach, for every player, for the school, for the administration and, especially, for our community,” Kirkorsky said.
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper Thursday to read more about the Evanston girls basketball team.
Class 4A Niles West Supersectional
Rolling Meadows 54, Evanston 31
Sierra Clayborn 8, Alecia Cooley 8, Erin Boothe 7, Seara Clayborn 3, Dashae Shumate 5.
Elizabeth Vasilogambros 1, Jackie Kemph 11, Jenny Vliet 14, Alexis Glasgow 12, Ashley Montanez 8, Morgan Keller 4, Sami Kay 2, Katie Shewmon 2
Evanston 10-7-8-6 — 31
Rolling Meadows 13-14-11-16 — 54
3-point goals — Evanston 3 (Sierra Clayborn 2, Seara Clayborn), Rolling Meadows 2 (Alexis Glasgow, Jackie Kemph). Team Fouls — Evanston 16, Rolling Meadows 7. Fouled Out — Seara Clayborn. Technicals — None.