PERU — Things didn’t look so great early for Mendota’s Lady Trojans Tuesday night. Trailing most of the first half, Mendota was able to squeak out a one-point win over St. Bede’s Lady Bruins. At the final buzzer, the score was 53-52.
St. Bede held a 34-18 lead at halftime, but as the saying goes, it was the tale of two halves.
The Lady Trojans opened up the third quarter with a 12-0 run. Amy Devitt had 10 points in the quarter alone.
The Lady Bruins managed only seven points in the period but still led 41-40 at the beginning of the final quarter.
St. Bede managed to lead the rest of the game until the very end. With 1:39 left on the clock, Mendota finally caught up to them evening things out at 50.
With 35.4 seconds on the clock, the game was knotted up again at 52. But, Mendota was in the bonus, and though they struggled at the charity stripe all night, all they needed was one to seal the deal.
Brooke Carroll had the opportunity to give her team a two-point lead. She missed both free throws. Luckily for Mendota, Abby Bromenschenkel was there for the rebound. The Lady Bruins quickly fouled her, and she went to the line. She hit one of two putting her team ahead with 13.8 seconds left to play.
Mendota coach Kevin Geldon said he challenged his team at halftime.
“We came out in the first half just sleepwalking. Our effort wasn’t there. I think maybe we were overlooking the game a little bit, or thought we were better than maybe we really are. Games don’t win themselves,” he said. “(We) just challenged them that basically we were getting outworked, not because they were making more shots, but because they were getting more loose balls. So, they really responded, and we did what we needed to do to come out on top.”
When asked if he felt his team gave one away, St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal frustratingly agreed.
“Ball handling … turnovers. You’ve got to step up when a team is making a run at you. We stopped doing what we’d been doing in the first half,” he said. “You can’t live on the first half. You can’t give up at halftime … I knew Mendota wasn’t going to go away. They’re not going to give up. They made plays.”
Three-pointers allowed the Lady Bruins to build up a strong lead early. Nearing the end of the first quarter Lydia Stariha drained a three from downtown, giving her a nine-point first quarter to lead St. Bede a 16-9 lead.
The second quarter was more of the same. Both teams had trouble with ball movement, and turnovers were back-to-back-to-back at one point. But Stariha was able to drop in another three, while Raley Mauck and Mo Dean each added five points. Mendota could not buy a field goal. At the half, St. Bede led 34-18.
The Lady Trojans’ Devitt led the squad with 25 points. Teammates Abby Bromenschenkel and Carroll tied for the team’s second highest scorers with eight points each.
St. Bede’s Mauck led her team with 16 points, with seniors Dean and Stariha matched one another’s 13-point effort.
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