- Associated Press - Sunday, March 9, 2014

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Kiara Lewis wasn’t about to let Chicago Whitney Young lose focus during Saturday’s state 4A championship game after coasting to an impressive 40-point victory in Friday’s semifinals.

It showed.

Lewis poured in 20 points to lead Whitney Houston (32-3) past Rolling Meadows 60-44 on Saturday to win the girls’ Class 4A state championship. Madinah Muhammad added 16 points and Khaalia Hillsman grabbed 13 rebounds for the Dolphins, which finished third in the state last year, and first two years ago.

But it was the possibility of a letdown after the Dolphins’ 60-20 shellacking of Chicago Heights Marian Catholic on Friday that had Lewis and Whitney Young coach Corry Irvin concerned.

“I just came out real intense and I wanted a state championship after what happened last year and not being able to play,” said Lewis, who sat out last year’s tournament due to injury. “I came out strong. The whole weekend we came out fast and strong.”

Irvin said that although her team didn’t play quite as well as it could have, she was happy nonetheless. “I don’t know if there was a letdown, but we didn’t do some of the things that got us here, at least early in the game. But I was so proud of our girls, especially our seniors, for stepping up and getting it done when it counted.”

Madinah Muhammad added 16 points and Hillsman 10 for the Dolphins.

Jenny Vliet scored 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Mustangs (29-5), while Alexis Glasgow added 10. Glasgow played the game wearing a facemask to protect a broken nose she suffered in the super sectional earlier this week.

Rolling Meadows took second place in the 2013 state tournament.

“I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say they’ll be the best group that I’ll ever coach,” Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkosky said. “It will probably be the best group to go through Rolling Meadows, and maybe the entire Mid-Suburban League.”

Whitney Young’s coach agreed. “They are a very good team,” Irvin said. “They did some things that surprised us, but overall I thought we played well and did what needed to be done.”


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