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Aurora Christian claims regional title over Seneca

Back-and-forth play ends in Aurora Christian’s favor

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 9:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 10:04 p.m. CDT
(Craig Lincoln for Shaw Media)
Seneca’s Mallory Misener gets a bounce-pass from Jacey Lamboley against Aurora Christian in Thursday’s Class 2A Marquette Regional title game.
(Craig Lincoln for Shaw Media)
Seneca's Mallory Misener shoots from outside with tight coverage from Aurora Christian in Thursday's Class 2A Marquette Regional title game.
(Craig Lincoln for Shaw Media)
Seneca's Jacey Lamboley goes up for a basket against Aurora Christian in the Class 2A Marquette Regional title game Wednesday.
(Craig Lincoln for Shaw Media)
Seneca's Danielle Hauch goes up for the layup against Aurora Christian in the Class 2A Marquette Regional title game Wednesday.

OTTAWA – Aurora Christian's second straight and second-ever girls basketball regional championship blocked Seneca from its 24th on Thursday in a 53-49 decision at the Class 2A Marquette Regional.

Seneca post Anna Baker, who had 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, fouled out with 5:11 to go and the game tied at 38. Just over two minutes later, the Eagles had built a 44-40 lead, with four points from Gabby Galbato doing the bulk of the damage.

As it had done all night, Seneca answered. The teams traded baskets before a long Mallory Misener jumper and a conventional three-point play from Danielle Hauch elevated the Irish to a 47-46 lead with 1:28 left.

"It was probably one of the hardest things ever, especially knowing it was my last game," Baker said of fouling out. "I knew they [her teammates] had it in them [to battle back]. They just had to work hard, and I just had to cheer 'em on as much as I could and I couldn't get down."

It was a lead that would last just 12 seconds of game time. Charissa Robinson made a 3 at the 1:16 mark to put Aurora Christian back ahead, and it stayed there. Seneca's next possession ended with a turnover, and an Alyssa Andersen free throw padded the Lady Eagles' lead on the other end.

With about 20 seconds left, Hauch made a basket that cut the deficit to one, but Kirsten Madsen responded with two Aurora Christian free throws, and when the Lady Irish missed a 3-pointer and a putback attempt on the other end, a Madsen rebound effectively sealed the outcome.

Seneca went 22 for 65 from the field and was 3 of 5 from the free-throw line as its opponent attempted 25 free throws, making 14.

"I'm extremely proud of them," Seneca coach Barb Beck said. "I think we rushed a few things, but we had some looks. I hate to say officiating, but [25] free throws to five, that's a little crazy."

Aurora Christian's four-point margin of victory was its largest lead at the end of any quarter, though it led at the end of each. It had an early 13-7 lead cut down to 17-15 by the end of the first, was ahead 29-26 at halftime and nursed a 37-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Hauch led Seneca, which bows out at 23-6 overall, with 16 points, and Jacey Lamboley scored 11 while adding four rebounds and three assists.

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