By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
Things are starting to come together for the Prince of Peace girls basketball team.
The Irish won their fourth consecutive game Tuesday night, avenging an early-season loss in a 46-43 victory against visiting Marquette Catholic of Bellevue at Central Catholic Auditorium.
“I feel we’re getting a lot more confident, knowing we can do it,” said Prince of Peace junior Jackie Kokjohn, who scored 11 points and sealed the win with two free throws in the final minute. “We’ve just got to prove to everyone else we can.”
They proved enough to Marquette.
“They’re going in the right direction,” Mohawks coach Jim Kettmann said. “We’ve lost four of five, and it’s taking a toll on the girls.”
Marquette led 27-24 at the half and pushed the lead to 29-24 on a weakside putback basket by Theresa Koos to open the third quarter.
That was wide as the margin got in the second half, though.
Baskets by Kokjohn and Julia Isenhour pulled the Irish within 29-28, then Isenhour scored on a putback with 4 minutes, 30 seconds left to give the Irish their first lead since midway in the second period. Isenhour scored eight of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter.
“We knew rebounding would be a key,” Isenhour said.
“Isenhour had too many second chances,” Kettmann said.
The teams went back and forth the rest of the quarter before Kelsey Tebbe scored on a baseline drive with 8 seconds left to give Marquette a 36-34 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
A pair of free throws by Lauren Pittman tied the game, then Danielle Bender put the Mohawks back on top when she scored from 12 feet out on the left baseline with 5:59 remaining in the game.
Prince of Peace answered with the next six points to take control.
First, Isenhour rebounded when Megan Mulholland missed from beyond the arc and tied the game with a putback with 5:38 left.
“I knew Megan would keep shooting, and if she missed I’ve got to make them; we’ve got to answer,” Isenhour said.
Mulholland then scored the basket that put Prince of Peace ahead to stay, scoring on a fastbreak pass from Pittman with 4:40 left.
“We’ve been working a lot in practice on sending two down, and I knew she would make it,” Pittman said.
“We’ve been trying to fastbreak a lot,” Mulholland said. “Julia and I rebound and try to get it down and get a layup.”
After a Marquette turnover, Isenhour made a nice move in the lane and scored to put the Irish up 42-38 with 4:06 left.
“One of the things that has been a problem lately in our losing streak has been turnovers,” Kettmann said. “In the second half we made some poor decisions on passes.”
Bender ended Marquette’s drought when she scored on a fastbreak, and the Mohawks got the ball back moments later with a chance to pull even. But Pittman stole the ball near the top of the key and dribbled downcourt for an uncontested layup and a 44-40 lead with 2:06 left.
“I knew every play mattered and tried to focus on finishing and helping the team out,” Pittman said.
Both teams went cold after that, with Marquette missing several shots and Prince of Peace missing on the front end of two one-and-ones.
Marquette pulled within 44-43 on a three-point play by Sarah Lampe with 41.4 left, but Kokjohn buried both free throws at the other end with 22.4 seconds left.
“I just knew I’ve got to make those shots,” Kokjohn said. “I just take a deep breath and make it a routine. (Hitting the first one) makes it a lot easier knowing I made at least one of them.”
Marquette tried to pull even at the other end as time ran out, but the Irish played denial defense on the perimeter, and the Mohawks couldn’t free up a shooter beyond the 3-point arc.
“We talked that they can’t get a 3 or we can’t foul them going in,” Irish coach Maggie Furlong said. “They really stepped it up at the end.”
PRINCE OF PEACE 46,
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 43
MARQUETTE — Blum 5 0-0 12, Tebbe 3 2-2 9, Koos 3 0-0 6, Jacobs 0 0-0 0, Bender 6 0-0 12, Lampe 1 1-1 3, Sieverding 0 0-0 0, Banowetz 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 4-5 43.
PRINCE OF PEACE — Kokjohn 4 3-3 11, Aquilani 1 0-0 2, Mulholland 1 1-3 3, Chapman 0 0-0 0, Atkinson 1 0-0 2, Laufenberg 1 0-0 2, Vicks 0 0-0 0, Isenhour 9 2-3 20, Pittman 2 2-3 6. Totals 19 8-12 46.
Marquette 8 19 9 7 — 43
Prince of Peace 13 11 10 12 — 46
3-point goals — Marquette 3 (Blum 2, Tebbe). Total fouls — Marquette 15, Prince of Peace 8. Fouled out — None.