Girls Basketball: Seton bows to Immaculate Conception in supersectional
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org February 24, 2014 9:42PM
Immaculate Conception's Gabby Curran blocks a layup attempt by Seton Academy's Kyra Ford and is called for a foul during a Class 2A Concordia Supersectional girls basketball game Monday evening, Feb. 24, 2014. | Jon Langham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2014 2:12AM
Rory Manion had a couple of words to describe leading Immaculate Conception to the Class 2A state title in volleyball in November, and Monday leading the Knights downstate in basketball.
“It’s awesome, indescribable. Going to state twice in one year, that’s just amazing,” Manion said after Immaculate Conception survived Seton 40-38 in Monday night’s Concordia Supersectional.
Amazing? Grace Vitek was just that when the Knights needed her the most.
Vitek, a guard, hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 39.3 seconds remaining for what would be the deciding two points, and was the last person to hold the ball at the end of a brilliantly run stall over the final 7.3 seconds.
Manion finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Vitek with 10 points and six rebounds and Abby Radoha eight points for Immaculate Conception (25-6), which will play Prophetstown on Friday in the second semifinal at Redbird Arena in Normal.
Seton (19-9) was led by Ebony Bailey (21 points) and Danielle Bailey (7).
Immaculate Conception was a rolling train entering the game, with a 15-game winning streak. The Knights rolled early, opening up a 17-9 lead after one period and stretching it out to 26-15 at halftime.
But Seton wasn’t done. As she did in Thursday’s sectional title win over Mount Assisi, Bailey led a second-half surge with five baskets. Her sister, Danielle, added two three-point baskets in the fourth period.
“We just knew we had to come back with intensity and stop them on defense,” Ebony Bailey said. “I just figured if we kept stopping them on defense, our offense would come.”
On the defensive end, the Sting drove Immaculate Conception to distraction. The Knights scored just six points in the third period, and had just six more in the fourth before Vitek’s vital free throws.
Danielle Bailey’s second three with 3:13 remaining made it 38-35. Seton got the ball back twice with a chance to tie, but an offensive foul and two missed shots were spoilers.
Vitek’s trip to the line with 39.3 seconds left was her second. Earlier she hit both ends of a 1-and-1. This time it meant even more.
“I was so nervous,” Vitek said. “I was just working hard (near the end), doing everything that I could to keep the ball in our hands and not in theirs, so we could secure the win.”
Seton drew to within two points on a three by Alfatinee Boyd. During a timeout, Knights coach Aubree Schuett drew up a play that worked better than she could have hoped.
“With seven seconds left, that’s one pass and a hold,” she said. “They made two or three passes, but they didn’t need to.
“This is so exciting. It’s great for the school. We’re the second female team to be downstate this year. This has never happened in school history for us. I’m thrilled for the kids, I’m thrilled for the community.”
Seton coach Kevin Green would love to have the final 7.3 seconds back.
“I was yelling, ‘Foul,’ because that would have still left us like 6.7 seconds on the clock or something,” he said. “ But I can’t take anything away from these girls. I’m so proud of them. To be as young as we are, to step up and make it to this game and lose by two ... we’ll be back next year.”