Nazareth girls squander lead
Whitney Young rallies from 18-point deficit for win
By Steve Metsch
Whitney Young’s Olivia Vick may be a freshman, but she plays with the poise of a seasoned veteran.
Consider Saturday afternoon when the 14-year-old’s precise shooting from beyond the arc proved fatal for Nazareth.
Vick scored five three-pointers in the second half, including three consecutive treys in the fourth quarter, to power Whitney Young to a 48-45 nonconference victory at Nazareth.
“She’s amazing and she’s a freshman,” Whitney Young Head Coach Kristen Harper said.
Vick said she was “kind of off in the first half, but once I hit the first three, I knew if I kept shooting it would get hot.”
Vick scored a team-high 17 points. Her last three gave Whitney Young a 46-42 lead.
But the outcome was still in doubt with 21.8 seconds left after Nazareth freshman guard Grace Carstensen hit two free throws, cutting the lead to 46-45.
Whitney Young’s Yasmin Mosi missed a free throw, and Nazareth recovered, hoping to set up the game-winner. However, Kaylen Evans – whose 17 led Nazareth – lost possession as she crossed center court.
Whitney Young’s Kayla Green was fouled with 5.7 seconds left. Green, who scored 15, missed the free throw, grabbed her rebound and scored to seal the win.
Vick’s sharpshooting capped a furious rally by Whitney Young (17-2) which outscored Nazareth 33-17 in the second half. Green chipped in with 11 of her 15 points in the second half.
Nazareth (13-8) had led by 18 points in the second quarter, by 13 at the half, and by eight after three quarters. Nazareth Head Coach Eddie Stritzel left quickly after the game.
Vick thought her team could win, even when down by 18.
“I have trust in my team,” Vick said. “I don’t think there’s anybody that can beat us, honestly, because (of) our attitude and how we play.”
Harper added: “What’s good about our team is they recognized she was hot and they were looking to feed her. That last one put the nail in.”
The rally was made more impressive as Harper only had eight players available due to injuries and surgeries.
“The first half showed us we have to be on our game at all times. We can’t be lax. Nazareth will lull you to sleep running their sets, and they do it well,” Harper said. “They never quit.”
Nazareth got sloppy late in the second quarter and committed several turnovers, allowing Whitney Young to trim the deficit from 23-5 to 28-15.
“(At halftime) I told them basketball is a game of runs. They had their run. Now, it’s time for us to have ours. One stop. One basket. They understood that and believed in that,” Harper said.
Nazareth has lost five of eight games. “We have to pick it up now,” said Carstensen, who scored 12.
Whitney Young put the game away with an 18-7 fourth quarter.
“One of our problems is having tough times finishing our games. Once they started getting on a run, we kind of put our heads down and we couldn’t get them back up,” Carstensen said. “We just let the game slip away.”
Whitney Young looked that way in the first quarter. Harper loudly voiced her displeasure in a huddle before the second quarter began.
“Please tell me what the problem is,” she told her team. “Our effort is (deleted). Everything is ridiculous. Somebody needs to step up.”
Step up they did.
Nazareth’s sophomores won, 36-20. Whitney Young had six players in uniform.
Desplaines Valley News