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IC bumps Wheaton Academy for Lisle crown
By Joshua Welge | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/30/2009 11:53 PM

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Kasey Reaber had no use for tape to wrap a pinkie finger she jammed "like eight times" the night before.

Big sister Taylor didn't shy away from bumps and bruises in the paint.

These Immaculate Conception girls and ex-Driscoll players don't mind a little football on parquet.

"I love physical games," Taylor Reaber said. "The more they let us play the better."

The top seed Knights backed it up Wednesday, wearing down Wheaton Academy 52-41 in a physical final of the Lisle Holiday Cage Classic.

"Their pace of the game is a lot of running," Kasey Reaber said of Wheaton Academy, "and we wanted to set our pace. We wanted the game to go how we wanted it to go. We did a good job of that."

Immaculate Conception (16-1), winner of 16 games all-time at Lisle coming into the weekend, won it for the first time in its first championship game appearance.

"For me being 10 years here (at IC) it's huge. There's just so many good teams here," Knights coach Dan Murray said. "Just getting to the championship game and then to beat a team like Wheaton Academy, it's an outstanding feeling."

Tied at 16-16 with 3:10 left in the second quarter after an Alexa Sharkey score for Wheaton Academy, IC took control with a 9-0 burst. Two Taylor Reaber scores, the second off an offensive rebound, preceded a Nicolette Lullo 3-pointer. Kasey Reaber then flipped in a runner to make it 25-16.

"It was an intense game," Kasey Reaber said, "but we needed some good competition. It was a good test to see if we are what we actually say we are."

Kasey Reaber, who had a game-high 18 points, scored 10 in the third quarter as IC pulled away. She capped it off with a gorgeous crossover at the top of the key and floating jumper in the lane, giving the Knights a 40-26 lead as time expired. The margin grew to 50-30 in the fourth quarter. Tournament MVP Taylor Reaber scored 10 points for IC.

"They just have so many weapons. It's a hard team to defend," Wheaton Academy coach Beth Mitchell said. "I thought we did a pretty good for the most part in the first half, but then I thought we sort of ran out of steam.

"(Kasey Reaber) is just a phenomenal player. Her first step and that dribble penetration is hard to defend."

Perhaps partly out of respect for Reaber's ballhandling skills, Wheaton Academy backed off its usual fullcourt pressure.

"I figured they were expecting our pressure," Mitchell said, "so I thought we'd try something different and come out in a zone and see if we can shake them up and miss a couple shots."

Sharkey scored 10 points and Meghan Grant 9 for Wheaton Academy (12-2), held well below its season average of 53 points a game in a contest.

"We did a good job of taking them out of their comfort zone," Murray said. "The girls did a good job of recognizing who their shooters were, and we really didn't let anybody get off."