Young rolls over Oak Park-River Forest
Updated: March 12, 2013 4:15PM
RIVER FOREST — Oak Park-River Forest coach J.P. Coughlin spent the weekend trying to convince his players that Whitney Young was human. It took the Dolphins only a few minutes to prove otherwise.
Whitney Young broke out to a 29-7 lead after eight minutes and weathered a minor flurry by Oak Park at the end of the second quarter to defeat the 11th-seeded Huskies 82-36 in a semifinal of the Class 4A sectional Monday at Trinity.
Young (26-4) will play the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal between No. 12-seeded St. Ignatius and No. 15-seed Proviso East for the sectional title at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
It’s easy to tell whose chances Coughlin likes Thursday.
“(Whitney Young) is a machine,” he said. “I spent three days trying to convince the girls it wasn’t a machine just to try to get them in the right frame of mind for the game, which I think they were. But they (Young) were hitting on all cylinders tonight.
“They are what they are,” he added. “They win state titles for a reason. They travel all over the country and beat everybody for a reason. They showed that tonight.”
Sydney Snower provided a big part of Young’s offense early Monday with three 3-pointers as the Dolphins extended to a 37-15 lead with 2 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the first half.
But Oak Park (13-18) got a 3-point play from senior guard Cuyla Hall and a long 3-pointer from sophomore Hailey Hoye to close to within 39-23 at the break.
“We had to refocus at halftime,” said Snower, who finished with 17 points, two steals and two assists. “We got a little excited in the first half, especially when you have a big lead. That’s really what we had to do. We had to refocus.”
Young opened the second half on a 21-4 run, capped by back-to-back steals by Linnae Harper, and any thoughts of an OPRF rally quickly evaporated. Harper finished with 19 points, eight steals, seven rebounds and three assists.
“It’s all about effort,” Harper said. “Every team is different and this year we had some ups and downs. But it’s all about teamwork, team ball, getting our posts involved, getting our guards and our bench involved. It’s about being focused and having a lot of effort and energy.
“Because if you win, you go on,” she said. “And if you lose, you lose. There have been a lot of upsets. Teams have been losing and top seeds have been losing. The caliber of team we are we shouldn’t be losing. We have to value each game and each possession, stay composed and stay focused each game.”
Five Dolphins broke into double figures including Taylor Brame (14 points), Khaalia Hillsman (12) and Tanita Allen (10).
Caroline Kelty led Oak Park with 14 points and five rebounds and Hall added eight points.
“To be out there and playing in this of game, this type of atmosphere, with half the Oak Park community watching, was special,” Coughlin said. “For the seniors, I’m telling them remember Friday (regional championship), not tonight.”