Marist senior Morgan Flynn knows her role and does it well.
“I’m usually the defender,” she said. “I’m not the one who makes most of the points.”
But she can. And Friday night, she did.
Her flashy offensive display kick-started the RedHawks to a 78-38 victory over Lincoln-Way East in the championship game of the Class 4A Shepard Regional in Palos Heights.
Flynn scored 14 points for Marist (28-4). Sydney Affolter added 14 points and five rebounds, while Mary Clare Brusek contributed 14 points and six rebounds.
Wisconsin-Whitewater recruit Olivia Molnar scored 16 points for Lincoln-Way East (17-14). Andie Perch had 11.
Marist will play Thornwood at 6 p.m. Monday in the Stagg Sectional semifinals.
Flynn, a 5-foot-8 guard, scored all of her points in the first half. She hit on her first three 3-point attempts in the first quarter.
By the time she cooled off, the game was basically over.
“I knew that last year we had a hard loss in the regional championship game,” Flynn said. “It was really important to come back this time with a hard fight and get through.”
No one could have seen this coming. Well, maybe Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly did.
“Oh, my gosh, I think she has been gaining confidence more and more,” Connolly said. “Plus, she’s a senior, and she’s playing with a sense of purpose.
“The last five or six games, she has been scoring in double figures, so she’s been coming on.”
Flynn’s eruption in the first quarter sparked the RedHawks to a 24-16 lead. Eventually, others would join in the 3-point parade, including sophomore forward Mary Clare Brusek.
Brusek, who had a sore left ankle taped before the game, rebounded from a scoreless first quarter to convert a pair of 3-pointers.
"I think Morgan hitting those three 3-pointers back-to-back-to-back just brought up our intensity," Brusek said. "Everything lit up.
“She’s a brand-new player this season. She’s amazing.”
Brusek hurt her ankle in a Feb. 12 game against St. Viator.
“I went up for a layup and when I came down I kind of tweaked my ankle,” Brusek said. “They said it was a lateral sprain, but we had a day off the next day so I used it to my advantage.
“I’m fine now. I am very excited for the road ahead. We’re going to have to work for it.”
Marist basically pushed Lincoln-Way East out of the game by hitting 10 3-pointers. For a good portion of the first quarter, however, the Griffins were in it.
The RedHawks held a 17-14 lead when Flynn hit her third 3-pointer to help them start extending the lead.
“I think we came out and we were prepared,” Lincoln-Way East coach Jim Nair said. “We executed well early on offense, we were getting good looks and the girls were finishing.
“The problem was we were hitting twos and they were hitting threes. Credit to Marist on how they shot the basketball. They were shooting with a lot of confidence from the perimeter.”