St. Edward’s girls basketball team has been improving drastically of late without much to show for it besides closer defeats.
On Saturday night, the host Green Wave may have taken the next step as Rena Ranallo, Kathleen Duffy, and Cecile Rapp stepped up in crunch time to lead St. Edward to a 42-34 win over Aurora Central Catholic in a Suburban Christian Blue game.
“These girls are working hard and we’ve unfortunately had to overcome a lot of injuries and lack of varsity experience,” St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson said of her team, which is 2-19 on the year and 2-6 in the Suburban Catholic Blue. “We’ve been playing better basketball but we’ve been going against some really good teams in Montini and South Elgin and Walther Lutheran.
“It’s never easy for us.”
The Green Wave had lost by 18 points earlier this season to Aurora Central (8-10, 1-6).
“We hustled this game better, especially the second half,” said Ranallo. “We had a lot better intensity then.”
Ranallo, the Green Wave’s senior point guard, scored a game-high 15 points and hit a tiebreaking layup with 6:55 left in the game. Then two foul shots by Rapp after an Aurora Central turnover padded the lead.
Although Aurora Central got within two on Maggie O’Brien’s two foul shots with 5:03 left, Rapp’s 10-footer and a layup by Duffy boosted the Wave’s lead to six points and it never got below four again. St. Edward protected it with four Duffy free throws in the final 32 seconds.
“There’s always nerves in free throws at the end,” said Duffy. “It’s just like practice. You learn to put them in.”
Rapp had eight points and 15 rebounds for the game as St. Edward came back from being down by as much as 11 in the first half. Ranallo scored nine of her points in the third quarter to fuel the rally when St. Edward outscored Aurora Central 12-3.
“We got a lot of stops on defense and then we moved on offense really well and started scoring in the third quarter,” Ranallo said.
St. Edward held Aurora Central to only two total field goals in the second half and eight total points. Aurora Central’s center Alex Horton struck for 12 first-half points, but St. Edward shut off the inside and held her scoreless the rest of the game.
“This year because we’re so young, things start to go wrong and they just get rattled,” Aurora Central coach Mark Fitzgerald said. “We’ve got to retrench now and think about this.
“We’re a good team. We’re just not playing like it.”