Karly Tate is the heart and soul of the Rosary girls basketball team.
When Tate went down after a hard foul on a drive to the basket early in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's Class 3A Crane regional game against Raby, the team was reeling. Tate got cut above her left eye and there was blood all over her face and some on the floor.
"Oh my gosh," said Royals guard Sydney Zaragoza about what went through her mind at that moment. "Karly is a tough player. I could see the pain because she wanted to keep going."
Tate would not return and became the third Royals starter on the bench with an injury. Guard Rachel Choice hurt her right ankle in the second quarter and another guard, Quincy Kellett, didn't play at all because of an ankle injury.
But despite these setbacks, Rosary showed its heart as a team and pulled together down the stretch to capture a 56-42 victory over the Raiders on the west side of Chicago. The Royals will play Montini for the regional championship tonight at 7:30 p.m.
"This is what you call a true team win," said Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox. "Karly is the heart to this team. That is why it was very important that when she went down that we did not fold and other people stepped up."
Zaragoza was one of those players. Because Tate couldn't shoot her 2 free throws, she was happy to oblige and sank both shots. The junior also hit a clutch jumper and made another foul shot.
Royals sophomore Adrienne Winkel made a key shot too right after Raby -- a Chicago Public League school -- cut the deficit to 7 points with 4:25 to play. Senior Madison Richmond helped Rosary (15-11) keep its distance with a 4-for-4 effort from the foul line in the final 2:04.
"We knew our top players are out -- we all need to step up and need to come together to play as a team and really calm down the floor," Richmond said. "We wanted to make sure everyone is on the same page so that we can pull through and win this game."
Tate led all scorers with 23 points. Her jumper was on as she sank three 3-pointers. The senior forward drove to the hoop strong and also moved well without the ball and her teammates fed her.
Choice chipped in 8 points as well.
Rosary led 19-12 at the end of the first quarter, 28-20 at halftime and 40-30 heading in the final 8 minutes of play.
"(The Royals) got to all of the loose balls," said Raby coach Fred Eaton about the difference in the game. "Give them the credit."
The Raiders were led by 13 points from Jamila Banks-Wall.