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Marist players celebrate their victory over Mother McAuley last Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Marist players celebrate their victory over Mother McAuley last Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Girls Basketball: Harris, Chivers lead Marist over McAuley

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

Marist went up against the best and came away with a big loss.

Bolingbrook, the Class 4A state runner-up in 2020 and the No. 1-ranked team this preseason by MaxPreps, defeated the RedHawks, 67-46, on Nov. 30.

Since then, the RedHawks (7-1) have won four straight, including a 69-54 home victory over neighborhood rival Mother McAuley in a non-conference showdown on Dec. 9.

Since that 21-point loss to the Raiders, Marist has tightened the screws on defense. They allowed 37 points to Lincoln-Way Central, 14 points to Phillips and 32 points to Morgan Park before heading into the rivalry game with the Mighty Macs.

“We don’t like to lose,” the. RedHawks’ Kara Chivers said after the win over McAuley. “But Bolingbrook is an amazing team, and by playing them it showed us what we needed to work on.”

“They are well-coached and have a good program, but we’ll be ready next time we see them,” added Le’Lani Harris.

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Marist senior Le’Lani Harris tries to get buy Mother McAuley’s Morgan Feil in the RedHawks 69-54 home victory. Photo by Jeff Vorva

“That’s why we play games like that,” Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly said. “It helps us down the line.”

Harris and Chivers both exploded and either doubled or nearly doubled-up their scoring averages against the Mighty Macs. Harris put in 24 points and Chivers added 21. Both entered the game averaging 11 points per game.

The RedHawks had a nice 28-18 led at halftime, but it turned out that wasn’t comfortable enough. McAuley heated up in the third period and closed the gap to four when Harris hit a pair of free throws and then hit the third of her four 3-pointers with a buzzer-beater to put the RedHawks ahead by nine.

That took some steam out of a young Macs team that starts three sophomores.

“Actually, the play call was for Kira in the corner, but the play broke down,” Harris said of her buzzer-beater. “I knew I had some space, and the clock was running down, so I let it fly.”

McAuley was led by senior Bella Finnegan’s 16 points. Sophomore Morgan Feil had 13 points and sophomore Maeve Egan added 12.

The Mighty Macs (6-4) rebounded from that setback with a 49-35 non-conference victory at Lincoln-Way East on Dec. 11. Egan scored 18 points in the victory.

Both Marist and McAuley are in the Grow the Game Shootout, which will be played at New Trier in Winnetka and North Central College in Naperville. McAuley challenges New Trier at 9:30 a.m. and Marist faces Edwardsville at 4 p.m., both on Dec. 20.

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Mother McAuley sophomore Grace Gambotz lets a 3-point shot fly against Marist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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