NORMAL -- This time the comeback came up just short.
Down to Bloomington Central Catholic by 10 points midway through the third quarter, St. Edward's girls basketball team, just as it did this past Monday in the supersectional, got back in the game. The Green Wave even took two leads. But in the end, BCC was able to hold off St. Edward's desperate attempt to force overtime and come away with a 45-42 win when Maddie Spagnola's spot-on 3-point attempt to tie at the buzzer came up just short in the Class 2A semifinals at Redbird Arena Friday night.
"We never gave up," said St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson. "We played the tempo game we wanted to play. Unfortunately the ball didn't bounce our way."
The Green Wave (27-6) will take on Camp Point Central (30-3) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for third place while BCC (22-10) advances to the championship game to face defending champ Byron.
St. Edward will long feel like this was a game of missed chances.
"We didn't capitalize on our opportunities," said senior Katie Castoro, who had a game-high 18 points. "It was a fun game to play in and I'm so proud of my team but it's a tough pill to swallow."
While Castoro had a productive offensive night, the Saints held Spagnola, St. Edward's leading scorer and all-stater, to just 8 points, 13 under her average.
"I didn't think it was their defense so much," Spagnola said. "I had a lot of good looks and couldn't finish."
After falling behind 16-8 midway through the second quarter St. Edward finished the half on an 8-2 run and trailed just 18-16 at the break.
But much like the Wave did in the supersectional, when they were down 14 at halftime and started the third quarter on a 17-1 run, the Saints came out and started the second half on an 11-3 spurt to grab a 29-19 lead with 4:44 left in the quarter.
St. Edward didn't wilt, though, and finished the quarter on an 11-3 run that left it behind just 32-30 going to the fourth.
Spagnola, who was held scoreless until midway through the third, gave the Wave leads of 34-33 and 38-37, the latter coming with 3:11 to play when she drove the lane and scooped in a layup. BCC regained the advantage 39-38 when senior Ellie Stevens scored in the paint with 2:48 left and that's when the game-changing sequence occurred.
After a trade of turnovers, the Saints missed two free throws and St. Edward grabbed the rebound. But the Wave turned the ball over and BCC sophomore Lauren Shanks nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Saints a 42-38 lead with just 1:40 left to play.
"That was the turning point of the game," Dawson said. "We used so much energy to that point, it was really difficult to get back in at after that."
St. Edward did close to within 44-42 after 2 free throws from Castoro with 11.1 seconds to go. Sarah Brady split a pair of free throws for the Saints with 4.4 left, missing the second. St. Edward grabbed the rebound and got the ball to Spagnola, whose 28-footer at the buzzer had the accuracy but came up short.
BCC's size advantage also caused the Green Wave problems. The Saints outrebounded St. Edward 42-33 and they grabbed 18 offensive boards, many times extending possessions late in the game.
"It was just not a typical game for us tonight," said Dawson, who also lamented her team's 21 turnovers as being a key to the loss. "Usually teams don't press us because we get up the court so well but it's uncharacteristic of us to struggle against a press. We made some poor decisions tonight and turnovers really hurt us."
Mallory Rejman added 6 points and 6 rebounds for the Wave, who were 17 of 53 shooting and just 2 of 13 from 3-point range.
Stevens led BCC with 11 points and 9 rebounds while Shanks and Bailey Coffman had 10 points each.