Stevenson trips up Saint Viator in OT
You had a feeling that host Stevenson and Saint Viator were headed for overtime Thursday night in their nonconference girls basketball game at Twin Groves Middle School.
And that is exactly what happened in the nail-biter of a contest as the Lions never got a chance for a game-winning shot after a crucial turnover with 3.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
A driving basket by Stevenson junior Ava Bardic nine seconds into overtime gave the Patriots the lead for good as they were able to capture a 58-51 victory that was aided by 9-for-10 free throw shooting in the extra session.
The No. 2 ranked Class 4A team Stevenson (12-1) and No. 10 ranked 3A team Saint Viator (7-3) combined for 13 3-pointers in the first half alone as the Patriots took a 23-18 lead after a torrid first-quarter pace.
Trailing 18-17, Bardic (20 of her game-high 26 points in first half) put together a personal 12-point run of her own as four straight 3-pointers gave the Pats their biggest lead at 29-18 early in the second quarter.
But the Lions' balanced offensive attack fought back to cut the lead to 33-29 at halftime.
The second half was a defensive struggle overall with Saint Viator going on a 10-point run for a 44-38 lead early in the fourth quarter only to see Stevenson go on a 9-point run to take a 47-44 lead with 2:06 left in the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Saint Viator's Joy Bergstrom with 1:46 left in regulation tied the score at 47-47 to set the stage for overtime.
"It was our fourth overtime game this year and it was our first loss in overtime," said Saint Viator coach Jason Raymond. "Bardic came out hot and she had some big buckets in the second half so you have to give a lot of credit to that girl -- she played a great game."
After Bergstrom forced a 49-49 tie, 2 free throws by Stevenson's Kendell Williams gave the Patriots the lead for good with 1:45 left in overtime.
Then Bardic and Simone Sawyer (11 points) combined for 4 more free throws for a 55-49 lead with 51.8 seconds to go.
"(Bardic) has just grown in her confidence from freshman year to now, and she takes what the defense gives her," said Stevenson coach Ashley Graham. "In terms of guard play both teams are so strong, and Saint Viator has excellent attackers with a ton of weapons."
Bergstrom scored a team-high 16 points while teammates Nora Ahram (13 points), and Emma Morrisey (11 points) also hit double figures for the Lions. Freshman Emory Klatt scored 10 points for Stevenson.
"I'm just really proud of our kids for keeping their heads up after an emotional loss (to Libertyville) yesterday," added Graham. "Both teams played really hard, and knocking down free throws in the end changes the game for you."