Borgia’s girls basketball Lady Knights waited a month and 13 days for their second home game.
St. Clair made sure Borgia would have to wait even longer for its first home win as the Lady Bulldogs used a balanced attack to win Thursday, 68-61.
St. Clair (10-4) beat Borgia (6-8) with three players reaching double digits and nine scoring points.
“It was a great win,” said St. Clair Head Coach Mike Scheer. “I knew it was really going to be tough. We were playing on their home court and they’ve been playing really good lately. I thought our girls really responded and stepped up. They got after it. We started a little bit slow, but picked up the pace, got a good lead. After their two shooters came out hot and started smacking them down in the third quarter, we hung tough. I was really happy with our girls.”
Borgia (6-8) honored its lone senior, Cassidy Moss, for reaching 1,000 points during last Friday’s Union Tournament semifinal against Sullivan prior to the game. Eager to play at home again, the Lady Knights came out and led for most of the first quarter.
“That’s been the story of the year so far,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Houlihan said. “We’ve been able to play teams pretty close, but we have not been able to get over the top. That was the case again tonight. We showed tremendous effort tonight.”
Depth was a key.
“We have 10 girls who can play,” Scheer said. “Nobody really is really above anyone else. We’re not afraid to rotate girls in and we don’t lose anything when we sub out. Our scoring doesn’t seem to drop off. We’ve got a lot of girls who average between five and nine points per game. That makes us pretty tough.”
Down 14-8 in the last 1:20 of the quarter, St. Clair stepped up the pressure and ended on an 8-0 run to lead 16-14 at the end of one quarter.
Alana Hinson scored two of the baskets and Gracie Sohn added one. Haley Buscher scored on a layup at the buzzer to give St. Clair the lead. The Lady Bulldogs never trailed again.
St. Clair led 33-21 at the half.
“We didn’t shoot real well in the first quarter,” Scheer said. “We went to man-to-man in the second quarter and that really helped to make a difference. We were able to spread that lead.”
Houlihan said it could have been worse.
“We could have let ourselves get out of it,” Houlihan said. “Cassidy had to sit a lot of the second quarter with foul trouble. I thought Grace Gettemeier stepped up and kept us in the game. Otherwise, it could have gotten out of hand. St. Clair has so many weapons and they run so many kids in and the pressure constantly is on. It was a fun game, just not one where we liked the outcome.”
Borgia chopped into the lead in the third quarter and it was 41-36 in the final minute. Kenzie Schmidtke scored two baskets, one on an inbounds play, by taking advantage of Borgia inattentiveness, to turn that four-point lead into an eight-point edge, 45-36, in another key run in the game.
“I was real happy that we didn’t get down in the third quarter,” Scheer said. “We came out in the fourth quarter and good things started happening. We got that lead up there and made our free throws.”
Houlihan said that was a huge span.
“Every time we got to within four, we would give up a three-point play or give them an extra possession. Those are things we have to get better in doing if we’re going to be a contender at the end of the year.”
Borgia continued to cut into St. Clair’s lead, but never got it to under five points in the fourth quarter. With 1:43 to play, Moss hit a three-point basket to make it 61-56, but St. Clair was able to take care of the ball and hit free throws down the stretch to seal the seven-point win.
For the game, St. Clair went 19-29 at the free-throw line and added five three-point baskets.
Buscher led St. Clair in scoring with 13 points.
Alana Hinson also hit double digits with 12 points.
Hannah Machelett was 8-10 from the free-throw line to finish with 11 points.
Schmidtke was next with nine.
MaCalyn LaCrone scored eight.
Gracie Sohn closed with five points.
“Tonight, I thought our post girls did a really good job,” Scheer said. “MaCalyn LaCrone did a great job, especially in the fourth quarter. Gracie Sohn did a great job at the beginning but hurt her neck so she had to sit out. MaCalyn stepped in. Kenzie Schmidtke did a great job. Graci Shirey, another senior who doesn’t get a lot of notoriety, just comes in and does her role and is happy for that. What’s so great about Graci Shirey is that she’s enlisted in the Army. When school’s over, she’s going to boot camp. Here’s a senior girl who is going to serve her country and I think that’s awesome.”
Megan Hinson and Shirey each scored four and Erin York contributed two points.
Borgia was 14-23 from the free-throw line and hit seven three-point baskets.
Moss led Borgia in scoring with 19 points and added four rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot and a steal.
Grace Gettemeier reached double figures with 13 points, four rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.
Avery Lackey closed with 10 points, six rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals.
Lynnae Grus scored six points with three rebounds.
Julia Struckhoff netted five points with two rebounds, two steals and an assist.
Josie Lindemann scored four points with three rebounds and two assists.
Anya Castelli and Dani Kimminau each scored two points. Kimminau also had three steals and a rebound. Britney Harriman pulled down three rebounds and added an assist.
St. Clair is the top seed for next week’s Hermann Tournament and takes on Wright City in the opening round Monday at 6 p.m. The second round for all teams is Wednesday and St. Clair will face either Chamois or Montgomery County at 6 p.m.
After playing at St. Charles Friday, Borgia returns home to host Duchesne in an Archdiocesan Athletic Association contest Monday at 7:15 p.m.