Aubree Lawrence continues to be amazed by the perseverance of her Immaculate Conception girls.
The Knights sure showed that quality Tuesday.
After losing a lead they held on St. Francis most of the night in Elmhurst, Rory Manion hit a last-second jumper to force overtime, where the Knights prevailed 46-43.
"They always play hard, and they never give up," Lawrence said. "They persevere when things go wrong, they have that determination to just keep fighting and they did that again tonight. Rory hit a big shot and it was awesome."
Manion's baseline jumper with a second left in regulation came after a St. Francis travel in the backcourt.
In overtime Manion muscled in a tough follow shot, giving IC (4-1, 1-0 Suburban Christian Conference) a 43-41 lead with 2:59 left it didn't relinquish.
"I was nervous there at the end, but I stayed calm," Manion said. "I knew I could do it. That's all that mattered, and the shot went in. We stepped up our game big-time in overtime."
St. Francis (0-6, 0-1), coming off a 3-27 season, saw its best shot at its first win to this point come up just short.
The Spartans kept within striking distance throughout, taking their first lead at 32-31 on a Kate Slattery step-back 3-pointer with six minutes left in regulation. A follow shot by Aly Germanos, who scored 15 points, nudged the Spartans ahead 38-33. IC answered with 6 straight points, going ahead 39-38 on a Brittney Reaber jumper with 50 seconds left.
Germanos answered with a three-point play with 33.9 seconds left, and St. Francis looked in good shape when IC missed a shot at the other end. Then came the turnover, Manion's shot, and the Spartans didn't score in overtime until the final seconds.
"It's just been a while since they've won a game, so they got to figure out how to do it," St. Francis coach Mike Phillips said. "We'll go out Friday and hope for a better result. We didn't come out so strong, and sometimes you expend a lot of energy coming back. But we gave it a good effort. It's something we'll learn from and hopefully it will make us stronger."
IC's defense stiffened in the extra session after surrendering 14 points in the fourth quarter, 26 in the second half.
Lawrence liked seeing it from a young team that plays just two seniors. Earlier she preached to her kids patience when St. Francis threw a zone defense at them.
"It's a learning curve," she said. "They're learning things about themselves and about each other."
Chiara Gaudio scored 12 points, Abby Radoha 9 and Reaber had 5 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals for IC, the third steal with a minute left in overtime leading to a pair of Radoha free throws to seal the win.
Abby Winkler scored 9 points and Sophia Kozlowski 8 for St. Francis.