Johnsburg girls fall in own regional semifinal

JOHNSBURG – Johnsburg's Kayla Toussaint and Katie Poczkalski each hit a 3-point shot in the first quarter Wednesday.

And when Toussaint dropped in a two-point basket early in the second quarter, it looked like, just maybe, four-game winner Johnsburg would be able to stay in the game with heavily favored Carmel.

But the Corsairs (20-9) went on a 15-2 run to end any suspense in the Class 3A Johnsburg Regional semifinal, and they sent the Skyhawks (4-25) to a season-ending 48-30 defeat.

Carmel will face Guerin in Friday's championship game.

"That's a very good team,'' Johnsburg coach Brad Frey said. "They were very aggressive and got to the ball."

The good news for the Skyhawks is 10 varsity players can sign up next year for more basketball. Of course, there were some goodbyes to make to seniors Jill Bazan, Marge Nusser, Megan Landazzi, Kallie DiTusa, Michaela Kopystynsky and Quiara Lawyer.

"Our seniors were great leaders,'' Frey said. "I'm proud to be associated with them. They all took their captain's job seriously. They were there all summer. They were hard workers."

Carmel's pressing defense gave the Skyhawks fits early as the Corsairs grabbed a 6-0 lead. Toussaint gave the home crowd some hope with her 3-pointer. Carmel answered with an 8-0 run to take a 14-3 lead late in the first quarter that looked daunting.

Toussaint (eight points) opened the second quarter with a personal three-point run, and then the offensive game on both sides shut down. It was 16-9 Carmel for more than three minutes.

"I was happy with that,'' Frey said. "And then they went on a few runouts."

Carmel's 6-foot-1 Kayla Quinn joined the offense, and the Corsairs opened a 24-11 halftime lead.

Carmel coach Kelly Perz watched Johnsburg rout Chicago North Grand, 69-14, in the opening game of the regional. So her team was ready just in case the Skyhawks put on another show like that.

"They had a nice game on Monday,'' Perz said. "We had to be prepared for their shooters."

Quinn scored five consecutive points to open the third quarter, and the Carmel lead reached 31-11. Nusser broke a nearly six-minute drought with a layup.

Frey got his seniors on the floor for the last time in the fourth quarter. That's when Lawyer made good on a three-point play. DiTusa, Kopystynsky and Nusser scored in the fourth quarter.

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