Morton girls basketball finds its way back to another Class 3A state finals
STREATOR — Update Katie Krupa’s basketball resume to reflect a third state finals trip.
Krupa and Morton beat Chicago Heights Marian Catholic 49-40 in the Class 3A Streator Supersectional on Monday night.
No. 7 Morton (28-5) advances to face top-ranked LaGrange Park Nazareth Academy (32-2) in the 11:45 a.m. Friday girls basketball state semifinal at Redbird Arena in Normal.
This marks the sixth Final Four appearance for Morton since 2015, winning four state championships (2015-2017, 2019) along with a 2020 runner-up.
“It’s just insane,” said Krupa, who has now been a part of 111 career victories including the ‘19 title and ‘20 second-place teams. “It’s nuts that all four years I get to play on the last possible day you can play.”
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The 6-foot-1 senior forward, who scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds to go with three assists and two blocks, was especially key when Marian Catholic made its second-half run.
With a 26-11 lead just 90 seconds into the second half, Morton saw its double-digit advantage evaporate in a matter of 10 minutes. A 26-10 push, during which Morton turned it over 10 times, was capped by Sarah Segarra’s 3-pointer from the left corner put Maria Catholic ahead 37-36 at the 4:41 mark — its first lead since 3-2.
But 25 seconds later, Tatym Lamprecht (15 points) got loose and knocked down her second 3-pointer of the game for a lasting lead.
“I didn’t even think when I shot that,” the 5-foot-8 junior guard said, “but once I shot it, I knew it was going in. I didn’t hesitate at all. It was a good shot. I made it.”
Maggie Hobson (eight points, five rebounds) pushed the Morton cushion to 42-37 with a triple off an assist from Krupa in the post. That was the third time the Spartans defense had collapsed on the Harvard University recruit, and she dished it off for a bucket.
“She’s a true point forward,” Morton coach Bob Becker said. “She has that ability and she’s doing it all year to make (her teammates) better. … She’s making good choices. She’s moving the ball.
“We play through Katie, but she definitely makes the team better.”
Added Krupa: “Well, a lot of it is just the trust I have in my teammates, and that’s grown throughout the season. They proved to me that they can step up. … It’s a big trust thing.”
The Potters closed out the game by hitting 7 of 12 free throws. Morton shot 14-for-27 (51.8 percent) from the field and 40 percent (6-of-15) on 3.
Ellie VanMeenen added 11 points for Morton.
After being seeded fourth in the regional, Morton beat top-seed Peoria High for the regional title, then third-seeded Galesburg for a berth in the sectional title. The Potters’ third win this season over No. 5-seed Washington was for an Elite Eight berth followed by beating another No. 1 seed Marian Catholic (26-9).
“We were kind of the underdog in this situation,” Hobson said, “and normally, Morton’s not. We kind of took pride in that. We were excited and we were ready to prove everybody wrong.”
Madison Davis scored 12 points to lead Marian Catholic, which shot 35.5 percent (16-for-45) and was outrebounded 23-12. Segarra added nine points, while Zikora Okonkwo had eight.
Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.