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Marian takes its first state title with a buzzer beater

Rolling Meadow's Alexis Glasgow struggles to pass Marian's defense.
Rolling Meadow’s Alexis Glasgow struggles to pass Marian’s defense.

Marian Catholic looked like the favorite going into Saturday night’s 4A state finals against Rolling Meadows.  The Spartans were just coming off a huge victory over Whitney Young, the defending champions, and were hungry for revenge over the Rolling Meadows team that beat them earlier in the season.

At first it looked as though Marian would pull off an easy win, leading 27-19 at the half.  But Rolling Meadows wouldn’t go down without a fight.  They fought back, tied it up, took the lead, and lost it all within two periods.

The final decision came down to one play.  After Jenny Vliet hit a layup to give Rolling Meadows a one point lead, Marian had one chance to take the lead.

The first shot was a miss.  The second shot was a miss.  Then Marian’s Kauai Bradley snatched a rebound with one second remaining and threw up a final shot in desperation.  The ball bounced around the rim and fell, giving Marian the 48-47 victory and the program’s first state title.

“I was just praying it would go in,” said Bradley.

The journey to this climactic moment was a bumpy one.  Marian’s Ashton Millender and Teniya Page broke the Mustang defense, putting up 12 and 13 points respectively.  These two racked up points for Marian, but Rolling Meadows’ Alexis Glasgow countered with a barrage of threes, racking up a whopping total of 24 points.

“Alexis just has guts,” said Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky.  “No stage is too big for her.”

A loss in the state finals, especially to a buzzer-beater, is devastating.  It takes time to get over and will haunt Rolling Meadows until next season.  Kirkorsky is trying to make the best of what he has.

“I can’t complain about everything,” he said.  “It’s obviously heartbreaking.  They just made one more play than we did.”

But Rolling Meadows has a lot to look forward to in the future.  It is bringing back a majority of the team’s star players next year, including Glasgow and all-state point guard Jackie Kemph.  They may just have another shot at the title next year.

Photos by Mike Krebs/The Voice

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