Girls Basketball: Lincoln-Way East edges out Marian CatholicLincoln-Way East's Taylor Johnson (15) runs past Marian's Dajhae Mullins (3) at Tuesday night's game between Marian Catholic and Lincoln-Way East. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 15, 2011 9:58PM
Taylor Johnson led the way for Lincoln-Way East in Tuesday’s season-opening 74-68 victory over Marian Catholic in Frankfort with 20 points and a whole lot of floor leadership.
When she was out there, anyway.
Johnson rolled her eyes a bit remembering five painful second-quarter minutes on the bench with three fouls, when Marian was able to slice a 23-8 deficit down to just six points at halftime.
“Oh, my gosh, I was so mad,” she said. “I felt so bad doing that because I couldn’t help my team out like I wanted to. But I kept cheering them on. It’s all about team support.”
As it turned out, Johnson would have much more to contribute in the second half. Meaghan McMahon (18 points), Caitlin McMahon (12 points, 11 rebounds), Amy Jacobsen (9 points) and Nathalie Hill (8 points) were also key in helping the Griffins stay in front the rest of the way.
Ashton Millender (20 points), Brianna Morrison (11) and Teniya Page (10) led Marian.
East came out with a purpose, scoring the game’s first eight points on stellar shooting. It was 17-2 before the Spartans got into any kind of offensive rhythm.
Johnson’s third foul occurred while diving for a loose ball with 5:47 left in the half. It was shortly after when Marian scored on five of seven possessions, twice on 3-pointers by Millender.
Marian got as close as 34-33 early in the third period. But foul trouble would wind up being double trouble for the Spartans, as veterans Alanna Ferry and Megan Walsh both had to sit. Ferry fouled out with 3:02 still remaining in the quarter.
The inside-outside game of the sisters McMahon, meanwhile, would allow the Griffins to rebuild a double-digit advantage.
“I like how when I pass it in she passes it back out,” Meghan McMahon said. “We were pumped at the beginning of the game. We were ready. But I was expecting it to be close the whole game.”
It would get that way again late, when after Johnson fouled out with 2:17 remaining, Marian made a helter-skelter rally from 67-55 down to get to within 70-65 with just under a minute left.
Jacobsen and Meghan McMahon sealed it for East with a pair of free throws each.
“We dug ourselves a hole we just couldn’t get out of,” Marian coach Annie Byrne said. “But the kids kept fighting to the end. We learned that no matter what happens, we have to be prepared to face it, adjust and stick to the game plan instead of panicking.”