GENEVA – A battle of two top teams, Class C-2’s Hastings St. Cecilia and Fillmore Central from C-1, went to the wire Thursday night at Fillmore Central High School.
The FC Panther defense created problems for the Hastings St. Cecilia Blue Hawks, including three big turnovers in the final 1:36, and the Panthers held on to pick up a big win by the final score of 47-44.
The two teams were tied at 40-40 with 4:04 to play, then Rachel Hoarty’s basket with 2:40 gave the hosts a 42-40 lead.
On the inbounds pass following Hoarty’s bucket, Andrea Malone picked up the steal and the Panthers proceeded to work two minutes off the clock before the Blue Hawks forced a jump ball with 1:28 to play.
St. Cecilia, which came into the game off the heels of their Aurora Holiday Tournament championship and undefeated at 8-0, tied the game at 42-42 with a short jumper just outside the paint from Shandra Farmer with 1:01 left in regulation.
The Panthers took the lead at 44-42, then a long inbounds pass from Malone to Emilie Krienert pushed the cushion to 46-42 with 36 seconds left.
The Blue Hawks got another short jumper from Farmer to close the deficit to 46-44 and with 12.5 seconds to play St. Cecilia sent Malone to the line where she hit the first and missed the second to make it 47-44.
The Blue Hawks brought the ball down court where head coach Jahn Kile set up the final shot.
Farmer’s long 3-point attempt bounced away and the horn sounded a win for the Panthers.
The Panthers owned a 10-point 30-20 lead just two minutes into the third quarter.
That lead would quickly diminish in the waning moments of the period as the St Cecilia girls pulled to within 34-31 with 17 seconds to play.
In the second quarter Fillmore Central’s Hoarty asserted herself on offense as she scored nine of the Panthers’ 19 points that erased what had been a 10-8 Fillmore Central deficit at the end of the first quarter.
The Blue Hawks used some cold shooting by the hosts in the first quarter (4-11) to open the early cushion.
Despite forcing several turnovers with their pressure, the Panthers could not capitalize in the early going on some easy scoring opportunities, but that trend would change in the second quarter and for the first half of the third.
The Panthers were led in scoring by Hoarty with 19, while Malone finished with 13.
Leading St. Cecilia was Olivia Thomas with 12, while both Farmer and Morgan Nikkila tossed in 10 points each.
Fillmore Central improves to 10-1 with the win, while the Blue Hawks are now 8-1.
Score by quarters:
Hastings St. Cecilia (8-1)..........................10 8 13 13 - 44
Fillmore Central (10-1) .....................8 17 11 11- 47