By Michael Wojtychiw
For the first time in the Chicago Elite Classic’s 11-year history, girls basketball stood out. Previously, the girls had had only a handful of games during the Classic weekend, but 2022 was different.
What was normally a two-day shootout became a three-day event with girls basketball taking center stage on Sunday with five games, four of which featured some of the top Chicago Public League teams playing suburban or out-of-state competition.
This year’s Chicago Elite Classic featured a shot clock for what could likely be the first time ever in a Chicago Public League basketball game and also featured the usage of the college 3-point line v.s high school giving an extra challenge to navigate during the tournament.
Please find the notebook below, featuring girls basketball game recaps of all the teams from the Chicago Public League played in. It was a great weekend against great competition as teams gear up for Conference Play!
You can find a similar boys recap for those games here as well.
Oak Forest 48, Simeon 47
Simeon and Oak Forest came out on fire during the first game of the day, combining for seven 3-pointers en route to a 19-18 Bengals lead. It was in the second quarter, however, that the Wolverines were able to take advantage of their size, dominating the offensive glass with three second-chance baskets in both the second and third quarters.
The game stayed close throughout, with the Wolverines holding 32-29 and 41-40 leads after the second and third periods. However, after leading 45-40 late into the fourth quarter, the Wolverines struggled down the stretch, being outscored 8-2. Trinity Greenwood led the way for Simeon with 17 points.
Phillips 44, Homewood-Flossmoor 41
The Wildcats and Vikings faced off in what may have been the most even game of the day. After the first quarter, the game was a 9-9 tie, halftime was a 29-25 lead for Phillips, 37-35 after three and the three-point final margin. The biggest lead for either team was a 37-31 margin in favor of Phillips in the third quarter.
Kamara Sephus led an extremely balanced Phillips attack with nine points.
Kenwood 72, Vashon 51
The Broncos took control of this Illinois-Missouri battle early and didn’t let up. After Kenwood’s Natasha Barnes gave the Broncos a 7-6 lead halfway through the first quarter, all the Chicago-area squad did was increase its lead.
After taking a 21-8 lead into the second quarter, the Broncos’ offense stagnated a bit in the period, allowing Vashon, who came into the game undefeated, to draw within 28-20. All of that changed, however, in the third, as the Broncos came out looking like they had in the first quarter, putting up 28 points, pressing their opponents, causing turnovers, and hitting numerous three-pointers.
Freshman sensation Danielle Brooks led a balanced Bronco attack with 15 points, while Ariella Henigan had 14 points and seven rebounds, Barnes 12 points and Jazlyn Givens with 10 points and six rebounds.
Ariella Henigan: “Our game plan was to run them out of the gym because they don’t like to run, so sticking to the game plan and focusing on what we had to do.”
“Being able to play against some of the best competition in practice makes the game a lot easier. So when we get into a game like this, when a team pressures us, it’s like second nature.”
Natasha Barnes: “Going into the game, you’ve got nervousness, but once you hear the horn go off, you just do what’s best for your team to win.”
“In the first half, even though I wasn’t scoring as much, I was talking to my teammates on the floor, being encouraging, making sure they were locked in.”
Coach Andre Lewis: “At the half, I just told them ‘stop fouling. Please stop fouling.’ Do the simple stuff, do simple well. They hear it all the time, most teams don’t want to play a linear game for the entire game, but the same way we played today is the way we play every game. We don’t change because we’re on a bigger floor like this. All the offseason conditioning and training, that’s why we’re doing it.”
Barrington 55, Whitney Young 54
The classic ended with what may have been the best game of the day, with two highly-ranked squads facing off with each other. The Fillies were state runners-up last year and were looking to make a statement at the CEC, while the Dolphins were coming off of a close loss to the nation’s top team, Incarnate Word, the day before.
A back-and-forth affair looked to be going in favor of Barrington in the third quarter, as the Fillies took leads of 11 points twice in the middle of the period. That’s when Young’s Skylar Jones took over though. The Missouri-bound Jones scored seven of the team’s final nine third-quarter points, including a shot at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 43-41. The Dolphins took the lead 30 seconds into the fourth quarter when Alaina Shields turned a steal into a basket.
The Dolphins had a chance in the closing seconds of the game, but fell just short. Skylar Jones finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, Destiny Jackson had 12 points and six rebounds and freshman Lysa Jones had 10 points and seven boards. Jackson had six of the Dolphins’ 10 steals on the night.