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St. Bernard’s Tops Guardians in Overtime

February 1, 2019

FITCHBURG -- A lot has changed since Dec. 6.

On that night, the St. Bernard’s girls’ basketball team opened its season in Worcester, claiming a five-point win over St. Peter-Marian.

Since then? It’s been a tale of two teams moving in opposite directions.

The Bernardians have been up-and-down, nearly alternating wins and losses and staying just above .500 on the season. The Guardians, on the other hand, have been a model of consistency, earning wins in 10 of the 12 games since that season-opening defeat.

Don’t mind the trends. The Bernardians certainly didn’t Thursday evening. Welcoming St. Peter-Marian to the Activity Center, St. B’s swept the season series with its guests, winning 55-49 in overtime.

“St. Peter-Marian has already qualified for the playoffs and we knew they were physical and bigger than us, but my kids totally rose to the occasion,” St. Bernard’s head coach Kate DelleChiaie said. “I’ve got five seniors on this team and I think they’re really looking forward to qualifying for the postseason. Every game is one step closer.”

The win lifts the Bernardians to 8-6, while the Guardians fall to 10-4.

Securing the victory took a Herculean effort from the Bernardians, who found themselves in a back-and-forth battle early in the extra session. Knotted at 42 to start, St. Bernard’s Lauren Wilmot and St. Peter-Marian’s Shirle Major (16 points) each buried a pair of 3s to push the stalemate to 48-all.

“I trusted my team and knew we had some slumps in the fourth quarter, but we came back and hit some big shots,” said Wilmot, who finished the contest with a team-high 15 points. “I wanted the ball in overtime. Once you hit a couple shots, it just kind of flows.”

But shortly after, Major fouled out and the Guardian offense fell flat in her absence. From there, St. Bernard’s took control, with Lisbeth Hoyt (13 points) scoring six out of the final seven points for the Bernardians to put the game out of reach.

The Guardians erased a three-point lead in the final 90 seconds, with Major and Abigail MacDonald (16 points) scoring back-to-back buckets to put the guests ahead, 42-41, with 42 seconds remaining before the Bernardians pulled even as Sabrina Patton (14 points) hit one of two free throws with 18 seconds left.

Following a turnover, Hoyt had a shot at a game-winning 3, but her effort wouldn’t fall.

After storming out to a 12-6 advantage after the first quarter, the Bernardians watched as SPM went on a 6-0 run in the first minute of the second to tie things up. The guest scored the first dozen points of the frame, going ahead 18-12 with 5:30 remaining in the half on a Major jumper.

But trailing 22-16 with four minutes left in the second, the Bernardians went on a run of their own, closing with a 9-0 spurt to claim a 25-22 halftime advantage. Patton’s drive to the rim with 20 seconds left capped the run.

“We’ve talked all season about how basketball is a game of runs, and we knew St. Peter-Marian was going to come right back at us,” DelleChiaie said. “We just had to hold them off, stay tough, play good defense and let our defense lead to offense.”

Follow Nick Mallard on Twitter @n_mallard.

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