Stevenson erases St. Viator's early lead
With St. Viator holding a 20-16 lead with under four minutes in the first half, the No. 1 girls basketball team in Class 4A made its winning move in the nonconference game.
Visiting Stevenson went on a 10-0 run with four different players scoring to take a 26-20 lead at intermission and never looked back in a 62-47 win at the Cahill Gymnasium in Arlington in Arlington Heights.
The rally included 2 free throws by Simone Sawyer, a 3-point play by Emory Klatt, a rebound and 7-foot fadeaway jumper by Kate Arne and a 3-pointer from Ava Bardic with 39 seconds remaining.
That balanced offense hardly went unnoticed.
"It's such a balanced effort," said Pats coach Ashley Graham, whose team is 29-1. "It's such a team effort, such unselfishness."
"That's what's special about this team," said Klatt, a sophomore who had a special game with a team-high 17 points and 17 rebounds. "Even people who don't start are able to score. And our defense is amazing as well. Everyone can contribute."
Sawyer contributed 16 points, moving her into second place (1,582 points) at Stevenson, past Jenni Dant (1,577) and behind Tauja Catchings (2,001).
Viator senior Nora Ahram (UIC recruit) moved into the 1,000 point scoring club at St. Viator when she hit a free throw with 7:03 left in the first quarter on her way to 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.
"Hats off to her for scoring her 1,000th point," Graham said. "And I can't say enough about the Bergstrom sisters (senior Joy had a game-high 20 points, and 6 rebounds while sophomore Mia hit a big 3-pointer to get the Lions to within 50-40 within 4:01 left). "We knew how talented St. Viator was coming in and how well coached they are."
Lions coach Jason Raymond has seen Ahram score 1,013 points and hand out 482 assists the past four seasons.
"I'm really happy for Nora," Raymond said. "I told her early in the season in front of the team that I was surprised that she was making a run for 1,000. Not because I didn't think she was a good scorer but because she creates so much for her teammates running the point for us. She is a player who generates a lot of assists (133 this season) and it was just surprising that she was able to score that many points considering all the assists she has."
Stevenson led 47-31 but Viator (18-12) got to within 54-47 on Ahram's driving 8-foot floater in the lane with 2:02 left.
The Pats sealed the deal with 8 straight free throws, the first four by Bardic and final four by Saywer.
"They were a really rough team," Klatt added. "Joy Bergstrom and her sister can really shoot. Joy's release is just crazy fast."
"Emory did great," Graham added. "I can't say enough about how hard she works and taking advantage of things, and sometimes having to finish through contact and double teams. But then you've got to give credit to our kids for knocking down free throws and Kate Arne goes in and alters so many shots."
Freshman Grace Gerdes-Grabowy added 6 points for Viator while junior Katie McCormick had 4.
"Stevenson is a tough team," Raymond said. "To beat No. 1 seeds like Stevenson we have to make plays. And then things need to go our way. In this game, we didn't make enough plays and we didn't create enough opportunities to make them go our way."
Stevenson has not lost since Nov. 22 to Loyola.
"We're showing consistency at the right time of the year," Graham said. "And St. Viator is going to do tremendous in (Class) 3A. It was a great game as we both get ready for the state playoffs."
The IHSA announced Monday that it will change its football seeding procedure in six of its classes.
Beginning this fall, all 32 teams in each class from Class 1A up to Class 6A will be seeded 1-through-32.
Classes 7A and 8A will continue with that seeding model.
The 2001 season was the last time all classes in football were seeded 1-32.