The Skinny: Meaghan McMahon made a heroic shot to end the first half in Lincoln-Way East’s 54-41 girls basketball victory over Homewood-Flossmoor in semifinal action Tuesday night at the Sandburg Sectional in Orland Park. Taylor Johnson took over the game in the second half. McMahon, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, banked home a 3-pointer from just across half-court line as the buzzer sounded to end the first half. Johnson, a senior guard who is headed to Loyola, recovered from foul trouble and scored 13 of her game-high 19 points in the second half. The two teams split during the regular season, each winning on its home floor, and East used a 2-3 zone defense to control the rubber match. H-F played without Charnelle Reed, the Western Illinois recruit who suffered a knee injury and missed the entire postseason.
Patch’s MVP: Taylor Johnson, 5-6 senior guard, Lincoln-Way East. Johnson picked up her third foul with 1:56 left in the first half and took a seat on the bench. She kept her composure in the second half. And she sparked the Griffins with her tenacious defense and an array of pull-up jumpers. She made 8-of-15 shots en route to her game-high 19-point performance.
Key Moments: Meaghan McMahon took an inbounds pass from Nathalie Hill and raced across the half-court line before launching a 3-pointer. McMahon banked the shot in at the buzzer to end the first half and give Lincoln-Way East a 25-20 lead. The Griffins extended the margin to 41-30 on a fastbreak basket by Amy Jacobsen in the fourth quarter. Homewood-Flossmoor was unable to fight back despite the shooting of Danielle Woolfolk. She made two 3-pointers and scored seven of her 10 points in the second half.
Homewood-Flossmoor Leaders: Danielle Woolfolk (10 points, 2 3-pointers), Amena Brent (10 points, 5 rebounds), Lauren Parker (7 points, 5 rebounds), Sydni Johnson (7 points, all in the second half).
Lincoln-Way East Leaders: Taylor Johnson (19 points, 8-of-15 shooting), Caitlin McMahon (14 points, 12 rebounds, 1 blocked shot), Meaghan McMahon (11 points, 6-for-6 from the free throw line), Amy Jacobsen (7 points, 1 3-pointer).
Quotable I: “They got us the last time, so we just wanted our revenge,” Lincoln-Way East’s Taylor Johnson said. “We wanted to come out hard from the start, like coach always says. We definitely did that. We kept our composure throughout the whole game. We said a little prayer before the game. So, I think that helped, too.”
Quotable II: “I’m ecstatic,” Lincoln-Way East coach Jim Martin said. “We knew from our last game (against H-F) that Amena (Brent) hurt us inside. And their penetration hurts us because they make some really good passes with that. Taylor (Johnson) picked up her third foul. We tried to protect her. And the zone was working. Woolfolk came in and knocked down a couple of threes. But, besides that, I think it helped us rebounding.”
Quotable III: “I totally expected that it would be close, and it was until the end,” H-F coach Dana Noble said. “We had to put some pressure on. We weren’t able to get steals, and they capitalized in the full-court transition game.”
Team Records: Lincoln-Way East is 26-4. Homewood-Flossmoor finishes 23-7.
What’s Next: Lincoln-Way East faces Marist at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Sandburg Sectional championship game. Marist advanced with a 63-49 victory over Marian Catholic on Monday.