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High school girls basketball: Marist too much for Marian Central

WOODSTOCK – Marian Central girls basketball coach Jackie Budmayr knew the switch to the East Suburban Catholic Conference would not be easy.   

On Saturday, the Hurricanes were reminded of just how tough their new conference could be as Marist defeated Marian, 72-19, the Hurricanes' most lopsided loss of the season in the team’s third conference game.

"These guys are very good,” Budmayr said. “Once again, they’re one of the top 4A teams in the state. That’s what we’re up against right now. I hope that we can continue to keep our heads up and stay positive – and see some of the good things we are doing on the floor because we did do some good things today.”

Dajae Black led the Redhawks with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting, as 13 different players tallied points for Marist. The Redhawks finished the game 29 of 51 (56.9 percent) from the field, scoring 49 points in the first half while holding Marian to 11.

Marian was missing its scoring leader and one of its team captains, senior guard Sarah Benigni, who is out with a knee injury she suffered in the first half of the team’s final game of the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic. Budmayr said Benigni’s injury will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks.

Stepping in for Benigni was 5-foot-5 junior guard Makala Villont, who led the Hurricanes with six points. Michaela Faunce added four points for Marian (2-9 overall, 0-3 ESCC), and Allie Mercurio and Nicole Rhodes each had three.

“It’s been hard because Sarah is our starter and one of, if not the, best players on the team,” said Villont, who also grabbed five rebounds. “It’s kind of hard to lose someone so important to your team, but it makes the rest of us step up and take on a bigger role.”

Marian hit 1 of 9 shots in each of the first three quarters, but Budmayr was pleased with her team’s effort in the second half after trailing big at intermission. Marian held the Redhawks to four points in the fourth quarter while scoring six.

“We had to try and stay patient on offense, and slow the game down,” Budmayr said. “We can’t run with these guys, you know, so I was proud of how we slowed the game down in the second half. But defensively, we didn’t contest enough shots.”

Marian travels to Crystal Lake South on Tuesday before returning home against Fenwick on Saturday in another ESCC contest.

“I’ll be honest – it’s been really hard [in the ESCC],” Villont said. “The losses sometimes get to us, but once we get to regionals we’ll be healthy and ready.”

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