LEBANON — Just when it seemed like Fenwick High School’s girls basketball team was fading toward the offseason, Elena Daly became a shooting star.
Staring at a 44-36 deficit with under five minutes remaining Tuesday night, Daly drilled two 3-pointers in a 31-second span to spark the Falcons to a stunning 17-point run against Greater Catholic League Coed Division rival Badin.
Daly tallied 10 of her career-high 15 points in the last 4:18 as No. 9 seed Fenwick roared past the third-seeded Rams 53-46 in a second-round Division II sectional clash at Lebanon.
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“Honestly, if someone told me I would do that, I wouldn’t believe it,” Daly said. “My role on the team is to light it up when I need to. When I’m open, I know I’ve got to take it. I’m really proud of myself. I know anyone on this team can have a good night like that. I’m just glad I took advantage of that opportunity today.”
These Falcons managed zero wins in GCLC play during the regular season, but they’ve found something special in the tournament, knocking off league rivals Chaminade Julienne and Badin.
Emily Adams scored 11 points, Hannah Tebbe had nine, and Hannah Beckman and Brooke Brunner added seven apiece as Fenwick (11-13) earned a return trip to Lebanon on Monday. The Falcons will meet top-seeded Franklin (19-4) in a district semifinal at 7:30 p.m.
“The kids did not want to go home. They wanted more basketball, and you could tell,” Fenwick coach Scott Dalton said. “It’s a lot of heart and kids wanting it and believing. Confidence goes a long way with high school kids, and right now their confidence is sky-high. They think they can play with anybody.”
The emotional celebration was a long time coming for Fenwick, which hadn’t defeated the Rams since Jan. 31, 2007. Badin’s 15-game winning streak in the series is now history.
“Wow … it’s undescribable,” Daly said. “Ever since we got in the tournament, we told the girls how we have to have high spirits and be loud on the bench and on the court. We stayed positive through it all. We have nothing to lose, so we’re going to keep going at it with a full heart and have each other’s back.”
It was a devastating loss for the Rams (16-8). They handled the Falcons 53-35 in their first meeting this season back on Dec. 8.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Badin coach Tom Sunderman said. “We were up eight with the ball and had four straight turnovers. We were forcing stuff that wasn’t there. They hit shots and we turned it over. That’s it.”
Emma Broermann had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Rams. Emily Maher and Shelby Nusbaum added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Maher marked six points in the fourth period, and it was her stickback with 4:53 left that gave Badin its 44-36 advantage.
Fenwick responded with three straight treys, two by Daly and one by Brunner, to move ahead for good. Daly added a basket in the lane and the Falcons sank 6-of-7 free throws before Broermann’s basket with 10.3 seconds remaining closed the scoring.
“When we were down eight, everybody thought it was over,” Dalton said. “Elena Daly was the one. She stepped up and hit those 3s, and it was incredible. Everybody just fed off that. And we didn’t stop. We kept making shots and crucial free throws.”
It was the final game for three Badin seniors: Broermann, Maher and Grace Larkin. Broermann will head to the University of North Florida as the Rams’ all-time leading scorer.
“Three great kids,” Sunderman said. “We’re going to miss them.”
Asked to evaluate the season as a whole, the Badin coach had a two-word reply: “Too short.”
Adams grabbed seven rebounds, Beckman had six and Tebbe added five for Fenwick, which overcame 25 turnovers (the Rams had 20) and lost Megan Neff to a leg injury in the third quarter. Brunner chipped in five assists, and Beckman collected three steals.
The Falcons are turning their focus to Franklin and its coach, John Rossi. He’s a Fenwick graduate and twice led the Falcons girls program, departing after the 2016-17 season.
“We know all the accolades Franklin’s gotten this year,” Dalton said. “John Rossi was here with me a couple years ago. I’m kind of familiar with his system, so maybe that’s a little bit of an advantage we have. It’s going to be another challenge, but right now I think we’re up for it.”
“I love Rossi,” Daly said. “He was a great coach, and I know he’ll coach them well. But we’re excited to play. We’ll be ready.”
FENWICK (11-13): Hannah Tebbe 3 1 9; Rachel Tebbe 0 2 2; Hannah Beckman 3 1 7; Brooke Brunner 3 0 7; Emily Adams 3 5 11; Megan Neff 0 2 2; Elena Daly 5 2 15. Totals: 17-13-53
BADIN (16-8): Shelby Nusbaum 4 4 12; Jaelynn Scowden 1 0 2; Emily Maher 6 1 13; Emma Broermann 6 1 13; Kelly Havens 0 1 1; Emma Adams 1 0 3; Grace Larkin 1 0 2. Totals: 19-7-46
3-pointers: F 6 (Daly 3, H. Tebbe 2, Brunner), B 1 (Adams)
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