Article:    
SHG girls battle but fall to Nazareth in third-place game
3/5/2019 9:25 AM

NORMAL — Addison Scarlette did everything she could to try to send her older Sacred Heart-Griffin High School senior teammates out winners in the Class 3A state tournament on Saturday.

The 5-foot-7 sophomore scored nine points, grabbed 12 rebounds and hustled from baseline to baseline to make plays.

While it didn’t end with a win — SHG lost to LaGrange Park Nazareth Academy 61-54 in the third-place game on Doug Collins Court — Scarlette helped show why the Cyclones figure to remain in the mix for at least the next two seasons.

“Addison just goes. She goes and goes and goes,” SHG coach Steve Klunick said. “It proves on the stat line. It’s not always about points; it’s about who goes and gets you the ball. You can’t score without the ball and Addison’s got a huge heart.”

Nazareth got 30 points from its Illinois Basketball Coaches Association first-team all-state selection Annie Stritzel, including 13 in the final period as she made seven of 11 free throws to ice the game.

Klunick said Stritzel was a handful, but what made the Roadrunners (32-4) dangerous Saturday was their ability to shoot. In the first half, Jovanna Martinucci knocked down two 3-pointers and the team connected five times in that span.

“They hit the outside shot on us and when they did that, we had to go to a man and ... that poses so many problems — Stritzel is so good,” Klunick said. “We made that adjustment, made a little bit of a run but they are just a solid team.”

Nazareth got off to a 12-4 lead before the first timeout — a required media break — came with 4 minutes 47 seconds left in the first quarter. SHG sophomore Sofie Lowis emerged from that stoppage to hit a 3-pointer and over the final 3:17 of the period, SHG outscored Nazareth 9-0. Payton Vorreyer had six of her 12 points in the paint while Victoria Zeigler hit a corner 3.

That got the Cyclones (29-8) to within 18-16.

SHG went the first 4:17 of the second quarter without a point until Scarlette laid in a putback on an offensive rebound. But though the Roadrunners only had five field goals in the second, the final three all came behind the 3-point line to regain its wider margin.

SHG’s offense was limited again in the third when the team went 3:33 without a point. By the time Lowis scored in transition to end the drought, Nazareth held a 42-28 lead.

“I thought our zone really caused them some problems,” Nazareth coach Eddie Stritzel said. “They beat us on the boards (49-30) but I thought they were struggling on their initial shot attempts. If we had done a better job on the boards, it would’ve been a little easier but we kept them in the game by not being able to rebound.”

Emily Brenneisen hit two key baskets in the fourth. The first got SHG back within 48-43 with 4:47 remaining. The second one, a long jumper, cut Nazareth’s lead to 51-47 with 2:50 left.

Klunick was subbing at every opportunity, trying to gain an advantage at both ends.

“We went offense to defense,” Klunick said. “We had to make that game go as long as we could and boy, we were right there. The girls know it: when you’re out-matched at almost every position physically, you got to do the little things and we started doing the little things and getting those buckets and getting the hustle plays.”

The Roadrunners closed on a 10-2 run.

“Even at the end of the game, none of us decided to give up,” SHG’s Maggie Gilmore said. “We were just so excited to be here. We had played some really tough teams to get here and we showed how hard we play through those games.”

From the Class 3A Taylorville Sectional semifinal until the season ended, SHG faced a team with an IBCA first-team all-state player. The Cyclones beat then-unbeaten Charleston — with IBCA selection Shae Littleford — 62-60. In the sectional title game, SHG downed Bethalto Civic Memorial — who had Anna Hall as well as third-teamer Kourtland Tyus — 53-44.

And on Monday, SHG topped Effingham 56-50. The Flaming Hearts had Carsyn Fearday on the first-team list.

The Cyclones’ Vorreyer was named second team.

In the semifinal loss on Friday, Glen Ellyn Glenbard South’s Maggie Bair proved to be too much for the Cyclones to stop.

Nazareth had four IBCA selections to SHG’s one. Kaylen Evans made the third team while Franchesca Metz and Martinucci were both special mention picks.

“We were the underdogs through the whole thing,” Klunick said. “To get to this point is special. For the seniors, it was their last game. For the sophomores, the future was bright. We keep saying that.”

Contact Ryan Mahan: 788-1546, ryan.mahan@sj-r.com, Twitter.com/RyanMahanSJR.

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