Hitting free throws down the stretch helped the Borgia basketball Lady Knights advance past Helias Monday in the Union Tournament opener, 53-42.
“This has to be one of the best tournaments we’ll play in all year,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Parsell said. “When the fourth and fifth seeds have beaten the first and second seeds, you know it’s a good tournament. It’s always a great game matchup when we play Helias. We’ve got a lot of history between our teams.”
The Lady Knights (8-1, 2-0) were just 7-15 from the free-throw line going into the fourth quarter of the game. But fourth-seeded Borgia sank nine of 10 attempts in the final eight minutes to secure the victory.
The Lady Knights will face top seed Eureka Thursday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals. Eureka defeated Madison Prep Monday, 88-7.
Borgia also defeated Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division foe Rosati-Kain on the road Friday, 53-29.
For the second game in a row, Borgia used a fast start to power past an opponent.
Borgia led Helias (8-3) by a 12-6 margin after one quarter and was up 29-13 at the half.
But that’s where things changed. Helias came out on fire in the third quarter and went on an 18-5 run to start the second half. That cut Borgia’s lead down to 34-31 with 1:54 left in the third quarter.
“We played an excellent first half, but then gave up 20 points in the third quarter,” Parsell said. “We knew Helias was going to come back. We were able to hold the lead and keep our composure just enough.”
With Borgia needing something to turn the tide, junior Molly Arand hit a three-point basket and her sister, senior Janie Arand, added a free throw. Borgia led by five going into the final quarter, 39-33.
In the final eight minutes, the Lady Knights showed patience in attacking the basket.
Senior Emily Grahl started the quarter with a free throw and a basket off a steal. With four minutes remaining, Borgia’s lead was up to six points, 43-37.
Continuing to hold onto the ball, the Lady Knights forced Helias to start fouling to regain possessions. Borgia was put into the bonus with 1:47 to play and didn’t miss an attempt through the rest of the game.
“We did a good job of killing the clock in the last quarter,” Parsell said. “We made sure we controlled the game at the end. We showed a lot of patience.”
Borgia hit eight free throws in a row to push its lead to 53-40. Helias scored the final basket to cut the gap to 11 points.
“We talked about having to make free throws to win the game,” Parsell said. “We shoot a lot of free throws in practice. You’ve got to make them in a pressure situation like that.”
Molly Arand was Borgia’s leading scorer in the game with 13 points. She hit three three-point baskets, including two in the first quarter, as Borgia jumped ahead.
“Molly Arand came out and hit two big threes in the first quarter and set the tone,” Parsell said.
Sophomore Kaylee Heggemann came off the bench to score 12 points.
“Kaylee came in and had a huge game as well,” Parsell said. “We’ve come to expect that from her.”
Sophomore Megan Jensen hit double digits with 10 points.
Senior Janie Arand, the focus of the Helias defense, scored seven points while filling roles of defender, rebounder and ball distributor.
“We knew they were going to try and take Janie Arand out of the game and we needed other players to step up,” Parsell said. “With Molly and Kaylee taking over the scoring Janie would normally handle alone, it was a win we could handle.”
Grahl, who proved to be a major problem for Helias guards, netted seven points with a number of steals.
“They had a couple of new subs come in and we knew that’s when we really wanted to put the pressure on them,” Parsell said. “Having Kaylee at the top of the press makes it long and hard for them to see around her. We were able to get a couple of steals, get to the free-throw line and seal the game.”
Junior Cassandra Halsted added four points.
For the game, Borgia had 14 two-point baskets, three three-point shots and went 16-25 from the free-throw line.
Helias was led by Meghan Nappier, who scored 14 points.
Maitlyn Nienhueser was next with eight points.
Kelsi Bernskoetter hit two three-point baskets for her six points. Also scoring six was Darcy Baird.
Kaysie Scheuler scored four points while Katlyn Cowell and Emma Wyrick scored two points apiece.
Jumping out to a huge early lead, Borgia ran to its second AAA Large Division victory Friday night in St. Louis.
The Lady Knights scored 36 points in the first half, taking a huge lead through the first half.
“We played the tempo we wanted to play,” Parsell said.
Borgia led 21-10 after one quarter and 36-13 at the half.
Borgia held a 49-19 advantage after three quarters.
“We were able to get a balanced scoring attack,” said Parsell. “I really like the effort we gave. We have done a great job of dictating the tempo.”
Jensen led the way with 14 points to go with seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Janie Arand netted 12 points while going 8-8 from the free-throw line. She added six rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Grahl scored 10 points with seven rebounds, six steals and five assists.
Halsted scored six points while leading the team in rebounding with 11. She also had one assist.
Molly Arand netted five points while adding three rebounds three steals and one assist.
Heggemann scored four points and also had three rebounds and one steal.
Stapel scored two points while adding one rebound and one steal.
Junior Josie Krawitz ended with one rebound and junior Holly Swartz had two rebounds.
Chelsea Borders and Shannon Theobald each scored eight points for the Kougars. Danielle Goodman added five points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.