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Girls basketball: Whiting gets redemption against Noll, wins first title in nine years

BriannBlackwell hugs Abigail Bondi after defeating Bishop Noll Sectional Championship River Forest High School Saturday February 9 2013. | Jim

Brianna Blackwell hugs Abigail Bondi after defeating Bishop Noll in the Sectional Championship at River Forest High School on Saturday February 9, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 11, 2013 6:59AM



HOBART — Whiting was hoping a third time would be the charm Saturday night in the Class 2A River Forest Sectional championship game against Bishop Noll.

It was all that and more for the Oilers.

After losing to the Warriors in the regular season and the Greater South Shore Conference championship game, Whiting finally got one against the Hammond Catholic school winning 65-48 to earn the school’s second sectional championship in school history.

The Oilers last championship came in 2004 in Class 1A.

They move on to face the Hebron Sectional winner Boone Grove at the Rochester Regional.

The game’s first 14 minutes went back-and-forth as each team put up 23 points.

But a Veronica Aguilera steal and basket, a pair of free throws from Citlali Lopez and a nice assist from Lauren Markovich to Bri Blackwell as the first half expired put Whiting (20-3) ahead 29-23, giving it the momentum into the break.

That carried over into the second half as the Oilers outscored the Warriors 15-2 to start the third quarter.

Whiting coach Kevin Moynihan said he preached to his girls that no matter what the scoreboard said they had to believe they were losing and needed to keep pushing to get back in the game.

It worked to perfection.

“We constantly said: ‘Play like you’re losing, play like you’re down 10 points and don’t let them back in,’” he said. “(At halftime), we talked about the first three minutes back out there were the most important three minutes of your athletic lives because Noll is going to come out and fight you with everything they have and we knew if (our team) could withstand that pressure in those first three minutes we could be okay.”

Whiting’s defense smothered Noll (21-3) on the offensive end as the Warriors couldn’t get anything going for the first six minutes of the second half. The only Noll player to put points on the board in the first six minutes was freshman Brenda Pennington, who recorded six of the team’s nine third-quarter points.

The Oilers, meanwhile, watched Lopez go to work on their side as the junior guard scored 11 of her team’s 18 third-quarter points to push the lead to 47-32.

Noll never challenged again.

“That was big for us,” said Moynihan, of Lopez’ strong third quarter. “Because Noll started to faceguard Bri (Blackwell) a little bit and CC stepped up and took charge.”

Pennington led the Warriors with 19 points, while freshman Naomi House tallied 11 points.

Lopez led the Oilers with 21 points, Blackwell recorded 16 points, Abbi Bondi had 12 points and Lauren Markovich recorded 10 points.



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