Bergstrom's free throws lift St. Viator over St. Francis

  • St. Viator's Joy Bergstrom, left, draws contact from St. Francis' Ashley Sullivan during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Viator's Joy Bergstrom, left, draws contact from St. Francis' Ashley Sullivan during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Maggie Culver dives to the floor while attempting to keep the ball in bounds during Saturday's game against St. Viator in Arlington Heights.

      St. Francis' Maggie Culver dives to the floor while attempting to keep the ball in bounds during Saturday's game against St. Viator in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Nora Ahram drives to the basket for a layup ahead of St. Francis' Ashley Sullivan during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Viator's Nora Ahram drives to the basket for a layup ahead of St. Francis' Ashley Sullivan during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Maggie Culver, right, tries to take the ball from St. Viator's Aubrey Horbach during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Francis' Maggie Culver, right, tries to take the ball from St. Viator's Aubrey Horbach during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Keely McClellan shoots a jump shot against the St. Francis defense including Kate Chaparro during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Viator's Keely McClellan shoots a jump shot against the St. Francis defense including Kate Chaparro during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Aubrey Horbach leads a fast break as St. Francis' Kate Chaparro defends during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Viator's Aubrey Horbach leads a fast break as St. Francis' Kate Chaparro defends during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator girls basketball coach Jason Raymond leads his team during Saturday's game against St. Francis.

      St. Viator girls basketball coach Jason Raymond leads his team during Saturday's game against St. Francis. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Kate Chaparro, left, tries to make her way past St. Viator's Caroline Sexton during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Francis' Kate Chaparro, left, tries to make her way past St. Viator's Caroline Sexton during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Maggie Culver, left, lunges as she attempts to prevent St. Viator's Nora Ahram from making a pass during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Francis' Maggie Culver, left, lunges as she attempts to prevent St. Viator's Nora Ahram from making a pass during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Aubrey Horbach, left, and St. Francis' Maggie Culver each try to grab the ball near the basket during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Viator's Aubrey Horbach, left, and St. Francis' Maggie Culver each try to grab the ball near the basket during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis girls basketball coach Sandy De Craene watches her team from the sideline during Saturday's game against St. Viator.

      St. Francis girls basketball coach Sandy De Craene watches her team from the sideline during Saturday's game against St. Viator. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Lauren Bruce, left, and St. Viator's Kate Peterson go to the floor for a loose ball during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights.

      St. Francis' Lauren Bruce, left, and St. Viator's Kate Peterson go to the floor for a loose ball during Saturday's game in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/11/2020 7:06 PM

Despite trailing 25-13, St. Francis' girls basketball team came out like a new team to start the second half.

"You've got to credit them for coming out and really punching us out (20-4 advantage) in that third quarter," said St. Viator coach Jason Raymond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Fortunately for St. Viator, it was Joy Bergstrom who provided the decisive knockout punch with 1.8 seconds left in Saturday's nonconference game in Arlington Heights.

The sophomore guard (game-high 20 points) hit a pair of free throws that produced the final margin in the Lions' 41-39 triumph at Cahill Gymnasium.

The Spartans (10-9) called time out and then ran a well-executed play in which they made a nice pass over the half-court line to set up a 24-foot 3-pointer that missed.

"We definitely can't let down like that in the third quarter," Bergstrom said. "We have to keep our momentum the entire half. But we did have the spark at the end to finish strong."

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The Spartans' big 20-4 third-quarter run included a 3-pointer by sophomore Katie Anne De Craene that gave the visitors their first lead at 30-28 with 1:49 left in the period.

They led by as many as 8 points when senior Ashley Sullivan hit a 3-pointer to make it 37-29 with 5:35 left in the game.

But the Lions (7-9) answered with an 8-0 run, sparked by Bergstrom's 14-foot fadeaway, 17-footer and fastbreak layup. Nora Ahram added a driving layup.

The score was tied at 37, 39 and 41. Bergstrom's layup while falling to the ground made it 41-41 with 56 seconds left.

The Spartans then had a 3-point attempt go in and out and Keely McClellan came away with the rebound, allowing Raymond to call for a timeout with 38.4 seconds left.

The Lions went into a delay game, and got the ball to Bergstrom with 10 seconds to go.

"We wanted to stall it down to the last shot," she said. ""My teammates were able to screen, get open for passes and find lanes to dribble. Everyone did their job."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

After being fouled while driving on the right side of the free throw lane, Bergstrom did her job by converting two free throws for her 19th and 20th points of the game.

"We were trying to get the ball in her hands so she could create for herself or demand the attention to open things up for someone else," Raymond said. "We got the ball to the right person at the right time and it worked out for us."

Bergstrom also worked for 4 rebounds and 1 block while junior Kate Peterson added 9 points with 2 rebounds and a block. Junior Aubrey Horbach chipped in 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

"We lost our composure in the third quarter," Raymond said "I think when we had the double-digit lead, our players kind of thought the game was over and you can't have that mentality. St. Francis is a tough team. They have some tough players."

Leading the Spartans were De Craene (11 points), junior Kate Chaparro (9) and junior Maggie Culver (6).

"I thought everyone stepped up and did a good job, especially in the second half," said St. Francis coach Sandy De Craene. "Anyone on the floor was helping us and that's what we need. We need a full bench so we can give our starters a break.

"I keep saying we're a younger team and we're trying to piece it all together. I'll tell you, we are getting closer and closer, and it's exciting to see that we are getting there."

Getting offense in third quarter was difficult for Viator which only produced a 3-pointer from Peterson and a free throw from Bergstrom.

"We struggled scoring and poor defense was probably worse than our offense at that point," Raymond said. "But to the girls' credit, they kept their composure in the fourth quarter and were able to recapture the momentum.

"We're a young team and having graduated some seniors who were the glue, we still need leadership. The next step for our maturation is to be able to extend a lead in the second half instead of losing it like we did. And that comes from maturity."

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