Girls Basketball: Lincoln-Way East’s quick start dooms Joliet CentralJoliet Central's #33 Tabrea Grubbs drives to the basket in front of Lincoln-Way East's #33 Amy Jacobsen held at home and Lincoln-Way won 63-27 on Thursday, December 08, 2011. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 8, 2011 9:21PM
It didn’t take long for Lincoln-Way East to brush off a little basketball rust Thursday night and exhibit its considerable skill against Joliet Central.
After not having played since the Saturday before Thanksgiving, East’s still maneuvered to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and cruised to a 63-27 road victory in the SouthWest Suburban Blue opener for both squads.
“I’m proud of the way they responded,’’ East coach Jim Martin said. “They were hungry, they were ready to play.’’
East (5-0, 1-0) proved early on that the 18-day layoff wouldn’t be a factor. Loyola-bound Taylor Johnson set the tone by scoring nine of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter.
The versatile point guard did a little of everything in the first eight minutes: grabbed a rebound, got inside for a layup, buried a three-pointer, made two free throws and added another basket.
“Taylor is a great leader,’’ Martin said. “We play by her and Caitlin (McMahon). When they play hard and get after it, the kids follow right behind them.’’
Forward Caitlin McMahon was a force inside with 18 points and nine rebounds while Abby Madden (six points) and Nicole Grynevich (four) contributed off the bench.
“I think our bench played well,’’ Martin said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, get the kids that come in stepping up.’’
McMahon had six points and Johnson five in the second quarter to help East extend its lead to 37-11 at halftime.
“We could tell at halftime their legs were a little bit out of it,’’ Martin said. “You can practice as much as you want, but the game situations are so much different.’’
Although the intensity and focus in practice were lacking right after Thanksgiving, Martin said “this week we were back. We had some real good intensity.’’
Top scorers for Joliet Central (2-6, 0-1) were point guard Nijea Dixon (nine points, six rebounds) and Juatece McNear (six points). Central had 12 first-half turnovers and was scoreless until Bernasia Fox’s three-pointer almost five minutes into the game.
“I wouldn’t say East is on a different level than most teams, but they had a great game tonight,’’ Joliet Central coach Brian Reed said. “We didn’t come out and play hard. We’re inexperienced. We’ve got to come out and play hard every night.’’