A power outage on Thursday turned the Class 3A Timothy Christian girls basketball regional final between the Wheaton Academy Warriors and the Nazareth Academy Roadrunners into a two-part series.
Near the start of the fourth quarter Thursday night — with the Roadrunners (18-11) up 44-28 — the outage stopped play for the night, to be resumed Friday afternoon. The 16-point deficit was too much for the Warriors to overcome in the 7:07 left on the clock, and Nazareth took the game 58-41.
Despite the 15-point final difference the Warriors (16-9) made it interesting, cutting the lead to 8 with 1:16 remaining thanks to a 3-pointer from Jaimie Netzley and four free throws from Marissa Gagliano.
“(We wanted to) just come out and finish,” said Warriors coach Beth Mitchell. “We’ve got seven minutes, seven seconds to try and chip away at the lead and we wanted to play physical and play hard, and I think the girls came out and did that and we were able to cut it to eight. Naz is a great team, I think they’ll do really well in the sectional.”
The Roadrunners missing some crucial free throws in the fourth gave Wheaton Academy some life, but Nazareth got its act together once the Warriors started fouling, putting away the much-needed points.
“I told them that we’re going be in a position that we’re gonna be on the free-throw line and we’re going to have to make more than 50 percent and we actually shot 50 percent,” said Nazareth coach Kim Connell. “So everything I was worried about that could happen in seven minutes actually happened. But we did what we needed to do to win the game.”
In the first half Nazareth took the lead with the game’s first basket with 5:22 remaining in the first quarter and it held the lead for the remainder of the game.
The two teams went into halftime with the Roadrunners up 24-18, but the game was still there for the taking, until Nazareth’s third-quarter performance, that is.
The Roadrunners dropped 18 points in the third and held Wheaton Academy to only 7 points. Nazareth dropped three 3-pointers and had the defensive effort being led by senior Tetre’Anah Cross, who ended with 15 points in the game.
“It was tough match,” Cross said, “but I know we just had to play physical and I know we just had to front the post and I know my teammates were going to help me if they tried to go over the top, so you know we just attacked them that way.”