It wasn’t quite to the level of “The Monday Night Miracle.”
But, Borgia’s opening-round comeback win against Ladue in the opening round of the Union Girls Basketball Tournament was close.
Borgia (4-4), the fifth seed, posted a mild upset against fourth-seeded Ladue (6-4), 56-54.
“That’s the best we have played as a team all season long,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Houlihan said. “What you saw was everyone contributing. We missed some free throws, which really could have been a big deal, but when we needed it, we got it done. And we had to do it without Cassidy Moss on the floor for the last minute and a half.”
Borgia plays top-seeded Sullivan, a 61-33 winner over St. Charles West in Monday’s first game, in Friday’s semifinals. That game tips off at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Sullivan, because, frankly, we haven’t been good enough to get to see Sullivan,” Houlihan said. “It’s exciting that we get to prep for that game. It was all positive tonight, nothing negative.”
Ladue controlled the early part of the game, leading 9-3 midway through the first quarter and 14-7 after eight minutes.
The Lady Rams built the lead up to 20-8 within the first two minutes of the second quarter before Borgia started to respond.
Ladue met every Borgia surge and led at the intermission, 31-25.
“We’ve really focused the last few days on our attitude,” Houlihan said. “One of the things we talk about is perseverance. We had lost that Borgia attitude. What we saw tonight is what we are — just grinding out ways to win and everybody doing something in a positive way. It was just a great overall team win and hopefully this can carry us on.”
Borgia continued its momentum in the third quarter and tied it at 34-34 on a three by Grace Gettemeier with 5:46 to go in the quarter. Ladue dug down and scored the next five points with Jordan Peete, who led all scorers with 23, getting a three-point play.
Borgia again fought back and took the lead in the final minute on a Josie Lindemann basket, 42-41. Peete came through again to score on a drive to the basket at the buzzer. It was 43-42 for Ladue going to the fourth quarter.
Gettemeier came through again hitting a three-point basket to start the fourth quarter. Ladue got a pair of free throws from Kate Minkler to tie it, 45-45, with 6:06 to play.
Borgia got the ball to the hot shooter, Gettemeier, and she hit another three. Ladue responded on baskets by Peete and Mia Collins to go up, 50-49.
Borgia took its turn to go ahead again and Moss scored with 3:06 to play to make it 50-49. Avery Lackey hit a free throw with 2:50 to play, making it 51-49.
Gettemeier blocked a shot at the other end. Lackey ended up getting fouled with 1:26 to go and she made the first shot. The second was rebounded by Julia Struckhoff, but Borgia couldn’t make the extra possession pay off.
With 1:14 to play, Moss, Borgia’s lone senior, fouled out. Kourtney Hay made one free throw and it was 52-50 for Borgia.
Playing without Moss put pressure on Borgia’s other players, but Houlihan felt her team stepped up to the challenge.
“The biggest thing was having Julia Struckhoff, Anya Castelli and Dani Kimminau have to handle the ball with all kinds of pressure in that last minute,” Houlihan said.
Gettemeier hit three of four free-throw chances to put Borgia ahead, 55-50, but Ladue wasn’t done.
Olivia Schroeder scored and Borgia was called for a five-second call while trying to inbounds after a timeout. Ladue’s Kalifa Muhammad cut the gap to 55-54 in the closing seconds.
Kimminau knocked down a final free throw to give Borgia a two-point edge. Ladue had one final shot, from the baseline, but it bounced off the rim and the ball went to Borgia with a 10th of a second to play.
“Dani played a heck of a game,” Houlihan said. “She was all over the place and really is the person who keeps us going fast.”
Overall, Borgia went 21-34 from the free-throw line in the game and hit three three-point baskets. Ladue was 9-22 from the free-throw line and hit five three-point shots.
Moss led Borgia in scoring with 18 points and she added seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
“Cassidy was in foul trouble in the second half and Grace Gettemeier was in foul trouble in the first half,” Houlihan said. “But Ladue had everybody in foul trouble as well. So it was a really good hard-fought game on both sides. Nobody would be upset with who won this one because it was it was a really hard-fought game.”
Gettemeier knocked down three three-point baskets and ended with 12 points. She also had three assists, three rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
“Grace Gettemeier, in the second half, was a difference maker,” Houlihan said. “She hit a couple of big threes.”
Kimminau and Lackey each scored nine points. Kimminau also had two rebounds and an assist. Lackey pulled down nine rebounds with three assists and two blocked shots.
Struckhoff scored four points with three rebounds and two assists.
Lindemann had two points, two rebounds and a steal.
Castelli added a rebound and a steal.
For Ladue, Peete scored 23 points with three assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Minkler scored 11 points with two assists and two steals.
Collins and Muhammad each scored six points. Collins pulled down 10 rebounds and had two steals. Muhammad had 13 rebounds.
Hay ended with four points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Khamil Douglas and Schroeder each scored two points. Douglas had one assist and a steal. Schroeder added six rebounds, a blocked shot and an assist.
Grace Hensley pulled down a pair of rebounds.