The St. Bede girls baketball team is going to get its shot at revenge.
The Lady Bruins led Mendota by 16 points on Dec. 11 but collapsed in the second half and lost by a point.
St. Bede gets another shot at the Lady Trojans at 5 tonight in the championship game of the Lady Bruin Christmas Classic.
The Lady Bruins earned their spot in the title game with a 45-41 victory over Chillicothe IVC on Friday afternoon to wrap up the White Pool with a 4-0 record.
“I’m really excited about the championship,” St. Bede senior Whitley Funfsinn said. “I’m pumped to play Mendota because they beat us earlier in the season and we’re ready for some revenge and payback.
“I think last time we played Mendota we struggled because we couldn’t keep going, but I think we’re a different team than we were last time. We’re going to fight to the very end because we want this championship more than anything.”
Fieldcrest will play IVC in the third-place game. The Knights beat Princeton 56-28 on Friday to finish 3-1 in the Green Pool.
Eureka will play Seneca in the fifth-place game, Princeton will meet Kewanee in the seventh-place game and LaMoille-Ohio and Henry will face off in the ninth-place game.
St. Bede 45, Chillicothe IVC 41
St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal feels his team grew up Friday.
The Lady Bruins dominated the first quarter and took a 16-6 lead after the first eight minutes behind eight points from center Mo Dean.
However, foul trouble and the Lady Grey Ghosts limited Dean the rest of the way, holding the senior to just three points in the final three quarters.
So the Lady Bruins (9-10) had to find another way to win.
St. Bede struggled in the middle two quarters — getting outscored 22-16 — and IVC tied the game twice in the final minutes, but the Lady Bruins made enough plays down the stretch to escape with the win.
“I’m really proud of my team because we stuck with it throughout the whole game and we didn’t give up,” Funfsinn said. “It got tough at the end and they caught up, but I’m really proud of how we kept fighting to the very end, which is something we were trying to work on, and we accomplished that.”
St. Bede went up 37-30 with 6:27 left on a 3-pointer by Kelsey Thompson and a coast-to-coast layup by Laura Sickley, but the Lady Ghosts used pressure to get back into the game.
IVC forced five turnovers in the final 3:27 and managed to tie the game at 39-39 and 41-41.
However, the Lady Bruins managed to win the game at the free throw line despite starting the game 6-of-21.
St. Bede hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final 2:13, including 3-of-4 from Lydia Stariha and 2-of-2 from Sickley.
“We kind of were off on our free throws,” said Funfsinn, who hit 1-of-2 with 34 seconds left. “We practice them a lot. We’re actually going to practice them more (today) so we can come through in the next game because free throws win ball games. If we would have hit more, it would have been easier, but we did come through when it mattered most.”
Fieldcrest 56, Princeton 28
In December 2010, Megan Winkler became the first Fieldcrest girls basketball player to score 1,000 career points.
On Friday, junior Haley Ruestman joined that exclusive club.
“It means a lot, but I didn’t do it by myself,” said Ruestman, who came in needing 23 points and scored a game-high 25. “I couldn’t have done it without everyone else out there. It’s pretty cool.”
Ruestman’s reached the milestone with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:37 left in the game that gave the Lady Knights a 46-26 lead.
The game was paused as the Fieldcrest fans gave Ruestman a round of applause and a game ball was set aside as a memento.
“It’s just awesome,” Fieldcrest coach Ron Kreiser said. “It shows what kind of player she’s been, especially to get it in 2 1/2 years. She walked in as a freshman with a little confidence. It didn’t bother her to take some shots and get to the hole.”
Ruestman scored 11 of her points in the second half as the Lady Knights pulled away behind a strong defensive effort.
Fieldcrest led 27-21 at halftime before limiting the Tigresses to just seven points in the second half.
“The first half we were a little shaky on defense,” Ruestman said. “The second half we really stepped up. We only gave up seven points. We improved a lot in the second half. We helped out in the lane weakside when they had the big girls down low.”
The Tigresses were scoreless the first 6:21 of the third quarter and made just 3-of-20 shots in the second half.
“We had a great first half,” Princeton coach Kevin Hieronymus said. “If we made some free throws — shoot 50 percent — I think the game is tied, and if we make a few more baskets we have a lead at halftime. Maybe that changes the complexion of the game. Our girls were ready for the second half. They just outplayed us to start the third quarter and it got away from us.”
Ruestman also had four steals and three rebounds for the Lady Knights (9-5), while Tessa Holland had 17 points, 16 rebounds, six steals, three assists and a block.
Emmalee Sears led Princeton (4-12) with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Seneca 56, LaMoille-Ohio 26
Shiela Browning scored nine points for the Lady Lions, who fell behind 33-8 at halftime.
Eureka 60, Henry 29
Emma Cluskey tallied a team-high eight points for the Lady Mallards, who trailed 35-12 at halftime.
Kewanee 62, LaMoille-Ohio 18
Browning and Alissa Schrader scored four points each for L-O, which faced a 22-5 deficit after the first quarter.
Mendota 50, Henry 24
Amy Devitt poured in a game-high 22 points as Mendota finished undefeated in the Green Pool. Devitt scored 12 of her points in the first quarter as the Lady Trojans built a 21-2 lead after the first eight minutes.
Tori Schimmer added eight points for Mendota, which led 37-9 at halftime.
Cluskey scored 12 points to pace the Lady Mallards.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.