On paper, the games between the fourth and fifth seeds in a tournament are expected to be close.
Tuesday night’s Union Girls Basketball Tournament game between St. Francis Borgia Regional and Sullivan was not.
No. 5 Sullivan completed pool play with a dominating 47-31 win over fourth-seeded Borgia.
“We came out and battled,” Sullivan Head Coach Jordan Flora said. “We started out a little slow. We got Mallory Shetley in a little foul trouble. It was nice to come through with a win. That’s a great team and wel-coached. That’s a good win for us.”
Borgia Head Coach Stacia Houlihan credited Sullivan.
“Hand it to Sullivan,” she said. “They had to play with adversity with Shetley off the floor for so long with foul trouble and we didn’t capitalize on it. Give it to their players for playing through that. They built the lead and we couldn’t recover.”
The win gave Sullivan a 1-1 record in pool play and a spot in Saturday’s third-place game. Borgia lost to top-seeded Jefferson City Thursday in the final game of the three-team pool side of the bracket.
“That’s a good team and well-coached as well,” Flora said about Jefferson City. “We did our best and played hard. We couldn’t get shots to fall. Tonight, shots fell. It was a whole new ballgame and I was very proud of the kids.”
Neither side really had early success finding the basket and after three minutes it was tied at 2-2.
While Sullivan was struggling from the field, the Lady Eagles were aggressive to get to the free-throw line and Sullivan edged ahead on those shots. The Lady Eagles were able to build the advantage up to 10-3 and started to become even more patient. Sullivan dominated time of possession, but Borgia scored the final three points of the quarter to close back to 10-6.
The second quarter was very similar to the first. Sullivan held the ball, looked for open shots and was able to score four of the seven points the teams combined to get in the second quarter. It was 13-9 for the Lady Eagles at the intermission.
In the third quarter, Sullivan found its scoring touch first, especially from outside the arc. Three-point baskets helped Sullivan blow open the contest. The Lady Eagles netted 16 points to Borgia’s seven in the third quarter and led 30-16 heading to the final quarter.
“In the second half, we started moving the ball much better,” Flora said. “The girls were attacking and getting their feet set. That’s been our problem lately, not getting our feet set. They came out, knocked some shots down and got us going in the second half.”
Borgia finally found its scoring touch in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to get back into the game.
“We were getting the shots we wanted, but they just weren’t going down early,” Houlihan said. “That started to mess with us a little bit. We had turnovers and we weren’t able to make stops on the defensive end. We’ve got to be able to play better than that to be able to win a game in this tournament.”
Sullivan scored eight three-point baskets in the game and went 7-14 from the free-throw line. Borgia hit two three-point shots, both late in the fourth quarter, and went 7-11 from the free-throw line.
Mallory Shetley and Kya Harbour led Sullivan in scoring with 10 points apiece. Shetley missed most of the first half with foul trouble, but still was able to make her mark. She was 2-2 from the free-throw stripe. Harbour hit a pair of three-point shots.
Rylee Denbow was next with nine points, all on a trio of three-point shots in the second half.
Hanna Johanning hit a pair of three-point shots in the first half and ended with eight points.
Riley Lock and Katie Creek scored five points apiece. Lock posted a three-point basket. Creek was 3-6 from the free-throw line.
Borgia actually had the game’s leading scorers. Grace Gettemeier and Avery Lackey closed with 11 points apiece.
Gettemeier scored nine of her points in the second half and hit both three-point baskets.
“She hit a couple of threes at the end, but at that point the game was already over,” Houlihan said. “
Lackey missed time in the first half due to foul trouble, but was the only player on either side to score in each quarter. She was 3-4 from the free-throw line.
Anya Castelli was next with three points, all on a conventional three-point play in the fourth quarter.
Lynnae Grus scored the first basket of the game for her two points. Carley Beeson netted two points in the fourth quarter.
Dani Kimminau and Julia Struckhoff chipped in one point apiece.
Beeson, a sophomore, and Kaitlyn Patke, a freshman, both saw playing time in the game.
“The pressure defense of Sullivan bothered us,” Houlihan said. “Instead of being patient in getting to the rim, we threw the ball around a little too much. That led to some easy turnovers on our end. We didn’t rebound well either. It was one shot for us and they were getting multiple looks. Right now, it’s a gut check right now. We’ve got to figure out how to be tougher.”