Trailing 18-3 to Nazareth after a quarter of play on Tuesday, Glenbard South’s chances of posting its first sectional win in program history seemed bleak.
But coach Julie Fonda’s girls threw a defensive dragnet around host Nazareth for the rest of their Class 3A sectional semifinal, holding the Roadrunners to nine points on zero field goals in the second half of a 44-35 Glenbard South win.
“Defensively we locked down big-time and my kids will never give up,” Fonda said. “We’re also a running team, we’re in great condition, and I think we wore them out a little bit.”
The game’s first quarter was all Nazareth, with junior Katelyn Cahill scoring 11 of her game-high 13 points. The Roadrunners led 14-1 on a pair of Cahill free throws before South’s Tomei Ball scored her side’s first field goal of the game, with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
“They came out well and they’re a tough team,” Ball said of Nazareth. “But I thought our intensity really picked up in the second quarter. We started talking and everyone was back into the game.”
The second-seeded Raiders (22-7) used a 17-8 scoring edge in the second quarter in cutting the third-seeded Roadrunners’ lead to 26-20 by halftime.
“Theresa Scheet hit a big three and so did Ivana Markovic,” Fonda said. “We got some big steals during that run and Tomei Ball was clutch and turned us around as well.”
A 15-5 scoring edge in the third quarter gave Glenbard South a 35-31 lead heading into the fourth, as Sydney Bauman scored six points and Hannah Taylor netted four. Taylor finished the night as the lone Raider in double-digit scoring with 10 points.
Nazareth went 5-of-7 from the free throw line in the third quarter and 4-of-6 in the fourth, in the face of a Raiders defense that gave the Roadrunners little room to operate.
“It’s all about the intensity,” Ball said. “Our defense picked up and everyone was into the game. We wanted to make history tonight and we did it.”
Juliana Raimondi had five points and six rebounds for Nazareth while Megan Tobin finished with seven points on the night.
The task gets tougher on Thursday for the Raiders, when they’ll play in a sectional title game against top-seeded and three-time defending 3A champion Montini.
“Obviously they shoot lights out and (Montini coach) Jason (Nichols) does a great job,” Fonda said. “His kids are disciplined, they execute, and we’ll have to play a complete game. If Montini goes on an 18-3 run on us, I don’t know if the comeback is going to be the same.
“They’re the best team in the state and it’s a great challenge for us.”