Stipanovich’s Lay-In With 21 Seconds Left Saves St. Joe In Viz Quarterfinal Against Upset-Minded Webster Groves
Angels were out of sync on offense the entire game, but managed to do just enough right at the end to pull out nail-biting victory over hard-charging Stateswomen.
TOWN AND COUNTRY -- The St. Joseph’s Academy girls basketball team managed to pull out a nail-biter of a victory Wednesday night in the quarterfinal round of the Visitation Tournament, when senior Sydney Stipanovich dropped in a layup with 21 seconds left to give the Angels a 35-33 win over the upset-minded club from Webster Groves High.
The Stateswomen, who came into the game with a 6-2 record and the No. 10 ranking amongst Large School girls teams in the city, led almost the entire game and came less than a minute away from pulling off what would have been the biggest upset of the season so far.
“You have to give Webster Groves credit, they played a great game,” St. Joe head coach Julie Matheny said. “They really outplayed us. They probably deserved to win that game. But I guess somebody had one more gift to give us this year. Thanks Santa.”
The victory probably did feel like a gift for St. Joe, which struggled on offense throughout the game -- scoring a season-low 20 points in the first half and just 35 points in the entire game.
“Wow, 35 points, that’s like a good first quarter for us,” Matheny said. “Webster really played incredible defense tonight.”
But when they had to have it, St. Joe managed to squeeze just enough points out to keep itself unbeaten this year. The Angels are now 6-0.
It was a pair of seniors that made the play of the game for St. Joe, as guard Emmie Haring drove past a Webster defender and found the 6’3 Stipanovich, quickly whirled and banked in a shot that gave the Angels a 34-33 lead with just a few seconds left in the game.
Haring then deflected away a pass on Webster’s next possession, which kept the Stateswomen from possibly taking the lead.
Sophomore Mary Barton made a free throw with 6.6 seconds left for the final points of the game, which ended when Webster’s Morgan Unger drove to the basket, but missed on a layup attempt to could’ve possibly sent the game to overtime.
“I feel bad for that kid,” Matheny said. “She’s probably going to have nightmares about missing that shot. But that’s just one of those things you see sometimes in girls basketball. We let her get wide open, and she just missed it. We were very lucky.”
The Angels, still the No. 2 ranked team in this week’s Large School girls poll, will now face a very talented Blue Springs (MO) team in the Viz semifinals, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Like St. Joe, Blue Springs has been to the state tournament final four several times this decade, and once again is considered one of the top teams in the state.
The other semifinal at Viz on Thursday, will feature No. 1-ranked Incarnate Word taking on No. 3 Nerinx Hall, in another state championship-caliber contest.
That game will begin immediately after the St. Joe-Blue Springs game, with tip-off scheduled for approximately 8:30 p.m.
Score by Quarters ........... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 -- Final Score
Webster Groves ............. 12 . 10 .. 8 ... 3 -- 33
St. Joseph's .................... 12 . 8 ... 5 .. 10 -- 35
Webster Groves -- Cami Unger 8, Mallory Moran 6, Rachael Sondag 6, Morgan Unger 4, Abbie Paloucek 4, Claire Conners 3, Sydney Garland 2.
St. Joseph's -- Erin Nelson 13, Sydney Stipanovich 11, Mary Barton 9, Emmie Haring 2.