Blue Devils triumph in nail-biter against St. Francis

The women's varsity basketball team cruises to a win against Franklin earlier in the season. The Blue Devils had a much tougher game against St. Francis, but won 53-52.
The women’s varsity basketball team cruises to a win against Franklin earlier in the season. The Blue Devils had a much tougher game against St. Francis, but won 53-52.

By Dylan Lee, Staff–

The Blue Devil women’s varsity basketball won a last-minute thriller of a match against the St. Francis Troubadours 53-52 on Monday, Feb 2.

Davis held the lead in the game on only two occasions, with both coming in the last minute, but the second and final time, that was the way it stayed.

The Devils struggled to get any momentum going early on in the game, as the Troubadours jumped out to an early lead. After scoring not five seconds from the opening tip-off, Saint Francis kept their feet on the gas while the Blue Devils struggled with their shooting all the way up until halftime.

St. Francis also established a strong post presence and was working the inside much more effectively than Davis for the majority of the first half.

As the two teams took to their respective locker rooms at the half–one to regroup, the other to prepare for a second half defense of their lead–the score stood at 33-23 in favor of St. Francis.

Davis came out at the start of the third quarter with all hands on deck, and found its shooting touch. Coming out of the half, a six-point run put the Devils immediately back in the thick of the game, and the competition got fiery.

Several hard fouls and significant non-calls on both ends of the court resulted in a very physical game. The Blue Devils stuck close to the tails of the Troubadours for the remainder of the half, until with about 33 seconds left in the game, senior star Emma Stenz, who had been working well in the post and out all night, nailed a three to give the Devils their first lead of the ball game.

Immediately following Stenz’s clutch shot, the Troubadours flew back up the court and put another layup past the Davis defense before they could comprehend what was happening. With one possession and about 17 seconds left to play in the game, the Devils took it up the court, down by one point.

The Troubadours had the last touch on a ball that went out after a mad scramble in the key for a loose ball, and with 2.5 seconds left on the clock junior point guard Anna Belenis stepped up to inbound the ball.

The Devils raced around in a flurry, creating confusion, and Belenis deftly snuck a pass in to senior Caitlin Mazzoleni by the elbow. Out of the confusion, Mazzoleni turned and let loose a shot, which floated and came down to nothing but net right as the buzzer sounded for the game.

After the game, an ecstatic Heather Highshoe, head coach for the Davis High women, had nothing but praise for Mazzoleni.

“I’m very proud of Caitlin. I drew up that play right there in the timeout, and they played it perfectly,” Highshoe said. “Caitlin said it herself, ‘I think I blacked out after that shot,’ I mean I’m still speechless. It’s a great feeling and I’m really happy for the girls.”

Highshoe was also quick to praise her team for bouncing back from a cold first half in which the Blue Devils experienced their first double-digit deficit of the season.

“Resiliency is a great word. They focus […] we haven’t faced something like that before. The biggest thing was for the girls to take this challenge and find a way to make it work,” Highshoe said.

The Blue Devils held St. Francis to only eight points in the fourth quarter, while Mazzoleni and Stenz combined for 29 points. Belenis played almost the entire game and scored two while facilitating play nicely, and DHS also received key contributions in scoring and rebounding from Alyssa Lengtat and Katie Grahn.

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