South Elgin girls basketball coach Tim Prendergast never underestimates the kind of game his team will get from St. Edward, regardless of records.
And even though the Green Wave came into Saturday's nonconference game at South Elgin with just one win this season, coach Michelle Dawson's team mounted a valiant fourth-quarter comeback before falling just short as South Elgin hung on for a 46-43 win.
"We don't look at an opposing team's record," said Prendergast, whose team bounced back from a 38-point loss to Neuqua Valley on Friday to move to 10-9 for the season.
"St. Edward just got its best player back (senior guard Rena Ranallo) and Michelle does a nice job. Their kids battled hard. It's always good to get a win and it's always fun to play St. Ed's."
Each team struggled shooting, with South Elgin making just 14 of 56 from the floor and St. Edward (1-17) only 12 of 47.
"We're taking good shots we're just not making them," said Dawson. "We put ourselves in a position to win this game, the shots just didn't fall."
St. Edward's 6-point lead on 2 3-pointers from Ranallo, who recently returned to the Wave lineup from an ankle injury, was the biggest advantage either team could manage in the first half. But after that 6-0 opening deficit, South Elgin came back with 11 of the game's next 12 points and the Storm never trailed again.
South Elgin, which owns a 4-0 series edge over the Green Wave, led 23-19 at halftime and extended the advantage to 37-26 by the end of the third quarter, and still led 38-28 with 6:38 left in the game when the Green Wave mounted a comeback.
"I kept thinking we were going to pull away but they were stubborn," said Prendergast of the Wave.
St. Edward attacked the basket better in the fourth quarter and made its comeback largely from the free-throw line. The Wave made 9 of 12 from the line in the fourth quarter, including 6 of 6 by junior Clarissa Ramos and kept chipping into South Elgin's lead as the Storm suffered through a 2-for-14 shooting quarter. Ranallo fed sophomore Cece Rapp for a basket in the paint with 1:45 to play and suddenly the Wave had cut the Storm lead to 3 at 44-41.
South Elgin missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:29 left and sophomore call-up Kathleen Duffy buried a basket on the other end 9 seconds later to bring the Wave within 1, 44-43. And when South Elgin missed the front end of another one-and-one with 58 seconds left, St. Edward had the ball with a chance to go ahead. But Chelsea Gnan's go-ahead attempt from the corner rimmed out, South Elgin got the dead ball rebound and Storm senior Anna Tracy made 2 free throws with 15 seconds left to make it a 46-43 game. St. Edward couldn't get a shot off and Kennede Miller's steal with 2 seconds to go sealed the win for the Storm.
Ranallo led the Wave with a game-high 13 points, while Rapp had 9 points and 12 rebounds and Ramos added 8 points and 10 boards.
"These girls have been fighting all season," said Dawson of her team. "Their hearts are in it and they have the right frame of mind, we just need to play smarter basketball."
South Elgin had four players -- Nell Wentling, Delaney Kelleher, Miller and Nadia Yang -- each score 7 points to lead the balanced effort. Senior Kara Rodriguez had 10 rebounds.
"We started getting some offensive putbacks in the second half from Kara and Kennede Miller," said Prendergast. "Defensively we held them to under 50 points and that's what we wanted to do."