It couldn’t have been a better ending.
Facing longtime rival St. Dominic, the Borgia Lady Knights dominated their guests from O’Fallon Wednesday to claim the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division championship, 42-24.
“We are delighted to win the AAA conference championship,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Parsell said. “It was one of the goals we talked about at the beginning of the season.”
Borgia finished the regular season with an 18-6 overall record, 7-1 in the AAA Large Division.
“This is our first year in the AAA Conference, so this is a great way to start,” Parsell said.
The Lady Knights earned a share of the league title Tuesday with a 64-44 win over Bishop DuBourg.
Borgia concluded the league slate with just one loss, a home setback against Duchesne. The Lady Knights won at Duchesne while also sweeping St. Dominic, DuBourg and Rosati-Kain during the campaign.
Borgia’s next action is Tuesday, Feb. 26, when the Lady Knights take on St. Clair in the opening round of the Class 4 District 9 Tournament in Pacific.
Borgia is seeded third and St. Clair is seeded sixth. The Lady Knights are the defending district champion.
During the last home game of the season, it was a celebration before the Lady Knights ever even touched the ball.
“We celebrated senior night and it is nice to recognize the contribution of these players to the Lady Knights program,” Parsell said. “Katie Lindemann, Morgan Spradling and Madison Wehking have all been instrumental to our success this season and for the past seasons.”
Once the game started, Borgia proved to be a stingy host, allowing just four points in the first quarter. Offensively, the Lady Knights jumped out to a huge lead with 17 points in the first eight minutes of action.
Both teams slowed down in the second quarter and Borgia took a 21-9 lead to the intermission.
Borgia led 29-15 after three quarters.
On the evening, the Arand sisters paced the team with 24 combined points. They also had ripped St. Dominic in O’Fallon during the previous meeting.
Sophomore Molly Arand led the team with 13 points while hitting two three-point baskets and adding four steals, three rebounds and an assist.
Junior Janie Arand netted 11 points while hitting one three-point basket and going 4-4 from the free-throw line. She also had an assist.
Lindemann was the top scoring senior on the night, concluding with 11 points and five rebounds.
Junior Emily Grahl scored five points with four assists, three steals and two rebounds.
Freshman Megan Jenson scored two points while controlling the boards with 11 rebounds. She also had one assist and a blocked shot.
Others playing were seniors Spradling (two rebounds and a steal), Wehking (one rebound), juniors Baylee Godat and Alexis Sine and sophomore Cassandra Halsted.
“I am excited to see that we are getting a lot of balance in our offense,” Parsell said. “Molly Arand and Emily Grahl have been able to contribute more to our scoring. We don’t have to rely on Janie Arand scoring 20 points each night. This balanced approach will give us more of a chance to compete in the postseason. We have also picked up our defense.”
“Playing another conference opponent and getting closer to being able to call ourselves conference champion is the goal,” Parsell said. “However we have to do that against a decent Bishop DuBourg team, we’ll take it.”
On Tuesday, Borgia overcame a shaky start to roll in the second half on the way to a 64-44 win over Bishop DuBourg.
“Defensively, we could not play good enough to shut them down,” Parsell said. “Finally, in the third and fourth quarters we took care of it and prevented them from scoring 50-plus points. We were on pace to give up 60, so it was a much better effort in the second half.”
The Lady Knights trailed after one quarter, 14-13, and held a slim 30-26 advantage at the half.
But Borgia exploded offensively in the third quarter, scoring 23 points to 10 for DuBourg.
“We talked about how we are a better defensive team than this and that our effort has to be better on both ends of the floor,” Parsell said about the halftime talk. “We know that the first three minutes of the second half is a really important time for us. We want the other team to have to call a timeout because of a run to start the half. That’s something we always talk about.”
The Lady Knights continued to roll in the fourth quarter, ending the game with a 20-point victory.
Offensively, Borgia’s game plan was to push the ball inside to Lindemann and she produced with 24 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
“The last time we played Bishop DuBourg, she had a big game,” said Parsell. “We knew that’s something we can depend on her to do.”
Also reaching double digits in scoring was Grahl with 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal.
The Arand sisters scored eight points apiece.
Molly Arand also had two rebounds, two steals and an assist.
“Molly came out and played better in the second and third quarters and gave us some offense as well,” Parsell said.
Janie Arand closed with five rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Godat scored five points with two steals and hit one of the team’s two three-point baskets on the night. Grahl hit the other.
Halsted had four points, eight rebounds and a steal.
Spradling scored two points with two rebounds.
Wehking had two points with four rebounds.
Jensen had two rebounds and a steal.
Sine also played.