When Toni Kokenis finally emerged from a lengthy postgame players-only meeting, her words were clear and to the point.
This kind of basketball is unacceptable at Hinsdale Central.
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"We talked about having more pride in our defense," Kokenis said, "and the pride you should have wearing a Hinsdale Central jersey. We haven't been playing like we care much."
The Red Devils put in another uneven performance at the McDonald's Shootout at Willowbrook High School, falling to Marian Catholic 48-33.
Up 11-4 early and down only 2 at half, Hinsdale Central caved in in the second half. Marian Catholic's pestering, in-your-face defense seemed to throw the Red Devils off.
"We need to keep doing the things that work for us," Hinsdale Central coach Lindsey Montgomery said, "and at times we get away from that. They changed their defenses a little bit and we got tentative."
The rollercoaster ride Monday was a microcosm of the Red Devils' season. Just in the last two weeks Hinsdale Central played Montini tough in a home loss and beat Oak Park and St. Charles North. But then Friday the Red Devils suffered a double-digit loss to Proviso West, a team they beat in December.
"Our season has definitely been up and down," Kokenis said. "It's not like how we imagined our season would be. But it's definitely something we can turn around, and we have some big games ahead. There's plenty of opportunities to get our season going on the right track."
Kokenis had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for Hinsdale Central (12-7). Between 5:19 of the second quarter and 4:51 of the fourth quarter the Stanford recruit accounted for all 10 of her team's points.
"We need other people to make good passes," Montgomery said, "and we need other players that can put the ball in the basket. We don't have it now."
Simone Law was dominant inside for Marian Catholic with 22 points and 5 rebounds. Jasmine Matthews added 11 points, hitting 3 of the Spartans' 4 3-pointers during the third quarter. Marian Catholic (16-6), who started the season 2-4 but has only lost to Montini and T.F. North since then, also beat Hinsdale Central at last year's shootout.
Adabelle Ekechukwu had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Hinsdale Central.
"I think they're really disappointed," Montgomery said. "They're not used to losing. I think it's going to depend on how they respond. I believe they're going to come back and use it to get themselves better. I believe in them and they're good kids."