Whitney Young coach Corry Irvin directs her players to a Class 4A third-place finish against Huntley on Saturday at Redbird Arena.
Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer
NORMAL Despite Whitney Youngs girls basketball team not winning its second straight Class 4A state championship here this weekend, it hasnt been the worst couple of days for Corry (Carter) Irvin and her family, which is about to have a new addition.
Not only did Irvins Dolphins take home third place, the programs eighth state trophy since the 1992 Larkin graduate took over the program in 2001, but Irvins brother Deryn won a regional title as Larkins boys coach on Friday night and her brother-in-law, Nick Irvin, coached Morgan Parks boys to a Class 3A regional championship.
But it was Corry Irvins team that nobody really had a handle on until Saturdays third-place game against Huntley got under way. Expected to at least be in the title game again, the Dolphins suffered a humbling 24-point loss to eventual state champion Marian Catholic in Fridays semifinals, just the second Dolphins loss to an Illinois team this season.
But Young showed its mettle, as well as the toughness and competitiveness that has been a trademark of the program since Irvin took over, by dominating Huntley 60-27. Its the third time Young has finished third here to go along with two titles, two seconds and a fourth.
I thought we came focused today and did the things we wanted to do, said Irvin, who is due March 22 with she and husband Macks third child, all three of them having been on the way during the state tournament. We had great energy and great intensity and its good to end on a winning note.
Irvin didnt find it all that difficult to put Fridays loss behind her. Call it getting older, she said, while fighting off a cold she says Deryns daughter gave her as a going-away present for the state trip.
Its not like we had an undefeated season, said Irvin, who still gets capable assistant coaching and guidance from her dad, Deryl, who still makes the drive from Elgin to Chicago all season. Theres not much you can do in life to go back. A few years ago I might have felt different but the older I get the more I realize you cant go back, so it wasnt difficult to put (Friday) behind me.
Irvin has coached her share of all-staters and All-America players at Young, with Dolphins senior Linnae Harper being the latest on that long list. The 5-foot-8 Harper, who will play at Kentucky next year, torched Huntley for 27 points on 12 of 18 shooting, and she grabbed 8 rebounds.
We couldnt let (Friday) affect us, Harper said. We played to the best of our ability.
So while Irvin certainly would have savored a third state title, her team did win its final game of the season for the second straight year, and her brother and brother-in-law are still in the running to make it a trifecta of state appearances for the Carter/Irvin family this season.
But if that happens, Corry Irvin will be reminding her brother and brother-in-law, who have no state trophies between them, of one fact.
Theyve got a long way to go to catch up with me, Corry said, cracking a smile that becomes easier for her to find these days regardless of whether her team wins or loses.