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While St. Joseph was running out of gas, Loyola senior guard Egan Berne found that extra gear to make a play.
With the Ramblers holding a nine point lead in the fourth quarter, Berne followed up her own miss, diving around a defender to knock the ball to sophomore forward Sarah Elston who put in the layup, stretching the lead to 48-37.
The Ramblers pulled away from there, winning the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC) contest in Westchester by a score of 55-41.
“That’s Egan for you,” senior guard Anna Schueler said of the play, mimicking what her coach had said minutes before.
“She works so hard,” Loyola Head Coach Jeremy Schoenecker said of Berne. “She took two more charges today. And that play, that’s Egan.”
Schueler said the team prides themselves on hustle plays like that, but those plays were absent in what Schoenecker called a “sluggish first half.”
“It was uncharacteristic for us,” he said.
It was the host Chargers who provided the intensity in the first half, playing inspired ball despite only dressing six girls due to injuries and disciplinary measures, according to head coach Jim Maley.
“The girls played hard … it was one of their best efforts of the season,” Maley said. “We just ran out of gas.”
Changing up his gameplan to use a full timeout midway through each of the first three quarters, Maley tried to conserve as much of his team’s energy as he could. It worked early as St. Joseph stormed back from a 20-10 deficit after one quarter to pull within two at halftime. They turned that 26-24 deficit into a 33-32 lead midway through the third before Elston and Schueler started scoring for Loyola. The two helped the Ramblers go on a 12-0 run to close the third before Berne’s hustle play in the fourth sealed it.
Schueler had 12 points while Elston had 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Junior guard Maggie Nick also had 12 points for the Ramblers who improved to 11-5 overall and 4-0 in the GCAC.
St. Joseph falls to 6-11 overall and 2-2 in the GCAC. They were led with 12 points apiece by senior center Shaakera Jones and junior guard Kietta Saunders.