The Elgin girls basketball team had a chance Saturday to do something the Maroons haven't done in several years -- win a championship.
But poor shooting and a couple of defensive breakdowns in the second half did in the Maroons in a 44-35 loss to Nazareth Academy in the championship game of the Elgin Academy Thanksgiving Tournament.
"We got hurt inside on a couple of screens," said Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales. "They scored 3-4 baskets with that. But other than that I thought we played them pretty even."
The Maroons (2-2) scrapped their way to a 20-17 halftime lead by committing only 11 turnovers and playing tenacious defense.
But Nazareth, coached by former Waubonsie Valley and Rockford Boylan coach Kim Connell, took either teams' first lead of more than 3 points when junior Tetre'anah Cross scored on her second straight back door screen play to give the Roadrunners a 31-27 advantage with 5:57 left in the game.
Elgin closed to within 2 once, but the Maroons' fate was sealed when Devinne Love hit basket with 3:20 left that put the Roadrunners ahead 36-32 and started a 7-0 Nazareth run that made it a 42-32 game with 30 seconds left.
Elgin made just 12 of 50 shots for the game whole Nazareth was 14-for-44. The Maroons were also outrebounded by the same tally as the finals score, 44-35. Elgin was also hurt by foul trouble, with starting guards Maggie Powers and Kristin Tayag both fouling out in the fourth quarter. Powers, who scored 5 points and had 5 steals, was named to the all-tournament team.
"They played hard and it obviously means something to them," said Bumbales of his team as he noticed several of his players in tears over the loss. "We're moving ahead. It's been a good week. It's been a while since we've been 2-2. Looking back a year, we're making great strides. We saw improvement this week and they're not intimidated at all out there."
Tayag led Elgin with 9 points and Jessica Ramirez added 8 points and 10 rebounds.
Love and Cross had 10 points each to lead Nazareth. Love also had 10 rebounds and all-tournament selection Eileen Kennedy added 7 points and 10 rebounds for the Roadrunners.