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Too little, too late for Lady Bruins

LASALLE – St. Bede saved their best play for the fourth quarter against LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday. However, by that point they had also dug themselves too big of a hole to climb out of.

In the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lady Bruins quickly turned what looked like a game getting out of hand into a close contest. Trailing by 17 points entering the fourth, St. Bede stepped up their play defensively and knocked down six of their first seven shots to get within single digits.

Despite the inspired play, the rally attempt wouldn’t be enough as the Lady Cavaliers held off the surge for a 51-42 victory at LaSalle-Peru High School.

St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal saw something from his team in the fourth quarter that had been lacking the rest of the game

“We started to play aggressive and we started to make some plays happen that we weren’t making happen in the first half,” McGunnigal said. “It was just too little too late. We have to concentrate better. We have to be a little bit stronger going to the basket. We have to take on physicality and put the ball in the hole a little bit more. We have to keep working. It’s the sign of a young team still learning when you have those inconsistencies going on.”

The Lady Bruins (4-5) used a 9-0 run early in the fourth to get back in the game. Raley Mauck scored to start the run and Alex Alleman followed with St. Bede’s only three-pointer of the night. Mauck scored again when Laura Sickley stole the inbounds pass and Lydia Stariha capped the run by scoring inside and forcing an L-P time-out with 4:56 remaining in the game.

In a span of less than two minutes the Lady Cavs lead had been cut to 46-38.

St. Bede would get as close as a seven point deficit with 1:22 left after a steal and layup by Stariha. However, two missed free throws from Mauck and a couple of Britany Zawacki free throws for L-P secured the win.

Zawacki and Mia Porter were a big reason for the Lady Cavs’ hot start to the game. The duo combined for five three-pointers and 21 points in the first half. Porter’s buzzer-beater three gave L-P a 14-8 first quarter lead and two Zawacki long-distance shots extended the lead to 30-16 by the halftime break.

Porter didn’t slow down in the third quarter. She began the scoring in the third just like she ended it – with a three-pointer. Her trey to end the third period was a back-breaker for the Lady Bruins as they couldn’t snare a defensive rebound and allowed four shots in the possession.

“They weren’t getting much from the inside other than putbacks, we couldn’t box out and rebound,” said McGunnigal, whose team was out-rebounded 35-21 in the game. “They had a run on us and we couldn’t score to answer back. You’ve got to play much better defense if you are not going to score.

“We have to come away from this with something, and I think we will. We are way more of a solid team than we’ve shown.”

McGunnigal didn’t want to blame Tuesday’s slow start to coming off a game the previous night, a 53-37 win over Sterling Newman, saying “we played back-to-back before.”

Morgan Dean had team highs for St. Bede with 16 points and eight rebounds. Sickley added seven points and Mauck and Stariha had six each.

• Gabby Morrow scored 14 points for St. Bede in a 31-22 loss in the fresh-soph prelim.

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