by Michael Wojtychiw
A lot of history was made during the Chicago public League’s Championship Week.
On Feb. 7, the Chicago Public League saw the first-ever Blue/White champion crowned when Ogden defeated South Shore.
On Friday, Feb. 10, even more history was made when Chicago Math and Science took on Julian for the first-ever Girls Green Division Championship at McGrath-Phillips Arena on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.
The fact that it was the first-ever Green title game wasn’t the only potential history looking to be made.
Julian, as a school, has had athletic success and has numerous championship trophies. Chicago Math and Science, however, is not a school known for its athletics. In fact, when it came to athletics championships, the school had none.
In any sport.
That changed Feb. 10 when CMSA held off Julian 40-39 to win its first-ever trophy in school history.
“I’m just happy for my girls,” Chicago Math and Scince coach Andre Morgan said. “They played. I was just there. They did it all and it was a privilege.
“We stayed together and that’s when good things happen. I hope people know about Chicago Math and Science Academy now and I feel really proud of my girls.”
“CMSA has been great,” Ayomide Salami said. “I’m glad we got the W. We got our name out there and great to represent the school.”
The game of basketball can be all about runs. And that would be the perfect way to describe the second game of the doubleheader at DePaul.
The Titans started out quickly on a 10-0 run to start the game, holding the Jaguars without a point for over four minutes until Harmonee Anderson put in a bucket of her own to make it 10-2 CMSA.
What that did was set off a 10-0 run of the Jaguars’ own, one that extended into the second quarter until a Salami steal led to two free throws with 1:48 elapsed into the period.
“When they came back, I got mad, I’m not going to lie,” Salami said. “But after I saw that, I needed to make sure our team won and it came true. wE won.”
Salami’s 3-pointer just minutes later gave the Titans a lead they’d hold until midway through the third quarter. In fact, the Jaguars didn’t hold a lead until there was 7:41 left in the game.
After the Jaguars took the 28-27 lead mentioned above, the teams went back and forth until Julian took its biggest lead at 36-31 with 3:05 left.
The Titans, however, would close on a 9-3 to complete their magical title game win.
Salami scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Kendarria Hunter added 13 for the Titans. Brianna Jackson scored 12 to lead the Jaguars and Radajah Vance pulled down 14 rebounds.
“She’s got that beast mentality,” Morgan said about Salami. “You just have to get out of her way, let her do what she does, but the best thing is she’s happy for her teammates. That’s what matters the most.”
Both teams saw their seasons come to an end early in the state series. After taking down Sullivan and Clemente in the regional quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, the Titans fell to regional host Regina Dominican in the regional championship game. Meanwhile, Julian, after beating Longwood in the regional semifinal, lost to Perspectives-Leadership in the regional championship game.