NORMAL—The Bolingbrook Lady Raiders walked into Redbird Arena holding roses and walked out hoisting their third straight IHSA Class 4A championship trophy.
Morgan Tuck took the lead role for Bolingbrook in the 71-42 championship clincher against Zion-Benton. The junior forward poured in a game-high 36 points and snatched seven boards as well en route to a 29-point win that clinched the team its third consecutive state title.
The Lady Raiders (29-2) led wire-to-wire, jumping out to a double-digit lead early as they so often did during their early run in the postseason. The 10-2 spurt to start the game was just the beginning for Bolingbrook. Head coach Tony Smith's team poured in 21 points in the first period en route to taking a commanding 14-point lead.
Bolingbrook's defense was dominant and relentless throughout the contest. After allowing only seven points in the first quarter, the Lady Raiders somehow found another level, allowing only four points in the second period.
Overall, Bolingbrook's defensive prowess was unmatched. Zion-Benton committed 23 turnovers and shot 21 percent from the field in the first half and 36 percent in the game.
Patch’s MVP: Junior Morgan Tuck was dominant from start to finish Saturday, scoring a game-high 36 points. Tuck shot 68 percent from the field (11-for-16) and 85 percent (12-for-14) from the free-throw line. She even added a pair of 3-pointers, to boot.
Key stats: Bolingbrook outscored Zion-Benton in the paint 32-20. The Lady Raiders turned 23 Lady Bee turnovers into 22 points. Bolingbrook shot 49 percent from the field (25-51), 42.9 percent from the 3-point line (6-14) and 78.9 percent from the free-throw line (15-19). The Lady Raiders won the battle of the bench, outscoring their opponents 14-7.
Bolingbrook's leaders: Morgan Tuck (36 points, seven rebounds), Ariel Massengale (three points, 11 assists), Falon Edwords (eight points, three steals), Keiera Ray (eight points, 2-for-3 3-point field goals).
Zion-Benton's leaders: Juanita Robinson (14 points, three assists), Octavia Crump (nine points, eight rebounds)
Quotable I: "This is my last time playing with my sister (Taylor Tuck), Ariel (Massengale) and Falon (Edwards). Those are players I've known and played with since fourth grade. It's a really big thing that it's my last time playing with them. " -Morgan Tuck on what made this championship unique
Quotable II: "Ariel ... she's the truth. She's a kid who led from day one. What more can you say? She was our engine." -head coach Tony Smith on point guard Ariel Massengale
Quotable III: "I told them we had a chance to make history. This was the senior's last time playing here and we just wanted to have a good memory to leave with." -Ariel Massengale on what she told her teammates prior to Saturday's game.
Team Records: Bolingbrook (29-2), Zion-Benton (27-7)
What’s Next: A celebration at 2 p.m. in the Bolingbrook High School gym.