Everything finally clicked for the St. Francis Borgia Regional Lady Knights Saturday evening.
Borgia captured the title of their own Borgia Competitive Edge Girls Basketball Tournament, defeating the Rockwood Summit Lady Falcons, 55-46.
“It was a great way to finish out the week,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Houlihan said. “I’m glad we could get the tournament in because we had a lot of issues and Chris Arand worked hard to make it happen. Rockwood Summit is a tough team and played really gritty. Teams like that we would have lost to earlier in the season. It was nice to see that we came out of here with a win.”
Just getting to the title contest was victory for both teams. Fourth-seeded Borgia (8-10) upset top seed Union Friday night after its first game was not able to be played against University City due to weather.
Rockwood Summit (10-10) upset second-seeded Parkway South Friday night to reach the title contest from the Gold Pool.
Houlihan said the Borgia Tournament usually indicates how the season will go down the stretch.
“It’s good to see us grow in the right direction,” she said. “This is always a good indicator about which direction we’re headed in. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I always like to see us headed in the right direction and forget what’s in the rearview mirror.”
And the two upstarts gave the fans what they were looking for in an aggressive, physical title contest.
Rockwood Summit held a 10-9 advantage after one quarter, but Borgia fought back in the second to lead 27-20 at the intermission.
The lead didn’t last long. Rockwood Summit fought back and Jayla McLemore hit the Lady Falcons’ only three-point basket of the game to tie it at 29-29.
Rockwood Summit led 33-30 before Borgia came back to score the final seven points of the third quarter to take a 37-30 lead into the final eight minutes.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Knights had to withstand more Rockwood Summit pressure to prevail by nine points, 55-46.
“I’ve got to hand it to Julia Struckhoff,” Houlihan said. “She hung in there and really got it done when we needed it in the fourth quarter. She did a really good job for us there.”
Rockwood Summit used an aggressive fullcourt press to keep Borgia from ever getting comfortable in the game. Most of Borgia’s 18 turnovers were caused by the press.
However, Rockwood Summit logged 25 turnovers and struggled to find any way to oppose tournament MVP Avery Lackey near the basket.
The 6-1 Borgia sophomore led all scorers with 16 points and was one rebound away from a double-double. She added four blocked shots, two assists and a steal to her nine rebounds.
Borgia went 22-40 at the free-throw line and Lackey was 8-10 from the stripe.
“One of the good parts of tonight is seeing Avery Lackey growing up,” Houlihan said. “She didn’t shy away from the physicality Jasmine (Manuel) had. She was ready to go after it and that’s why she’s the MVP tonight.”
Lackey was able to get the better of Rockwood Summit’s 6-2 junior post player Manuel in the first half. Manuel ended up sitting for much of the first half after picking up her second foul midway through the first quarter.
Rockwood Summit just sent in another tall player, 6-1 senior Ashley Kelley, and Lackey fought her to standstill as well.
Manuel came back to end with 13 points, nine rebounds, two steals, two blocked shots and one assist.
Kelley added eight points, three rebounds and one blocked shot.
“Avery made it difficult for Jasmine on both ends,” Houlihan said.
Two other Borgia players, Grace Gettemeier and Julia Struckhoff, also reached double digits in scoring for the game.
Gettemeier posted 14 points, three assists, three steals, two blocked shots and two rebounds.
“Grace had to handle the ball a lot more than she typically would do tonight,” Houlihan said.
Struckhoff netted 11 points with four assists and two steals.
The pair combined for the three three-point baskets Borgia sank. Both also joined Lackey on the all-tournament team.
Dani Kimminau was next with seven points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Mya Hillermann came off the bench to score four points with three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Lynnae Grus scored two points and pulled down four rebounds.
Josie Lindemann added one point and five rebounds.
Anya Castelli had one steal. Kaitlyn Patke pulled down a rebound.
“We have a lot of depth off of the bench,” Houlihan said. “Mya Hillermann came off the bench and gave us some really good minutes. She’s one of our best kids in getting to the basket, so there’s a future there for her. We have Josie Lindemann or Lynnae Grus who rotate in and help us out. Kaitlyn Patke is a freshman who gives us good minutes. Anya Castelli helps out. We have a good team effort. It’s not just Avery Lackey or Grace Gettemeier, so it’s a good team.”
McLemore, Rockwood Summit’s other all-tournament selection, scored 11 points with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Raina Bryant had nine points, three steals, two assists and two rebounds.
Cameron Crews ended with two points, nine rebounds and two assists.
Ashley Manalang netted two points with one rebound.
Julia Martens had one point, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Kira Oviedo added one rebound and one assist. Abby Potter posted two assists and a steal.