SOMONAUK — Every time St. Bede senior Mo Dean made a basket Monday, the Lady Bruin student section chanted, “We want some Mo, we want some Mo, we want some Mo.”
Dean kept giving.
The 6-foot-3 center scored 17 points in the second half and finished with a game-high 25 as she led the Lady Bruins to a 47-41 victory over Aurora Christian in a Class 2A Somonauk Sectional semifinal.
“She’s a ton inside,” St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal said. “She’s our heart and soul offensively. We went to her. She missed a couple easy ones, but you know what, we’re going to take that. She doesn’t shoot 100 percent, but there’s no doubt about it, she’s a good centerpiece in our offense.”
The Lady Bruins led 13-7 after the first quarter and went on a 12-4 run in the second quarter — behind a pair of baskets from Laura Sickley and two 3-pointers by Whitley Funfsinn — that helped them extend the lead to 28-19 at halftime.
Dean made it 30-19 with a pair of free throws 17 seconds into the second half before the Lady Eagles, who McGunnigal and Dean call a second-half team, began their rally.
St. Bede managed just one basket and a free throw from Dean the rest of the quarter while Aurora Christian closed the frame on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 33-33 entering the final eight minutes.
That’s when the Lady Bruins really started to go to Dean.
“You have to go to the horse,” McGunnigal said.
Dean scored St. Bede’s first 10 points of the quarter on 4-of-4 free throws and three baskets down low on a pair of assists from Lydia Stariha and one from Lexie Miranda.
“My layups the first couple quarters weren’t too good,” Dean said. “I did get really frustrated with that, but free throws got me going. I was just trying to stay calm and stay cool for the team, and I think that the momentum from making free throws worked out for down low, too.”
Dean capped the game’s scoring with a putback off a missed free throw with 43.2 seconds left.
“I have confidence,” Dean said about coming up with key points in the fourth quarter. I think the team has confidence in me to get the easy two points, but it’s not all me. It’s a lot of outside shots that come from my team.”
The Lady Bruins (18-15) advance to play Byron (30-2) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the championship game.
The Lady Tigers, who are ranked No. 6 in Class 2A by the Associated Press, beat No. 10 Riverdale 69-36.
Byron defeated St. Bede 56-33 on Jan. 21 at Byron’s MLK Tournament.
“We played Byron up at their tournament a few weeks ago. Mo caught an elbow to the head and didn’t play for three quarters of the game,” McGunnigal said. “They have the (6-foot-3 University of Toledo recruit Sophie) Reecher girl inside. They are good all over the place.”
Along with Dean’s 25 points and nine rebounds, Sickley added nine points, three boards and two assists, Miranda had four points and seven rebounds, Funfsinn finished with six points and two steals and Stariha added three points and five assists
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.