When the going got tough, St. Paul went to senior first team all-district player Audrey Badovick and she showed why she earned that honor during the Lady Flyers’ 48-45 Division IV sectional final win over Fremont St. Joseph Saturday at Norwalk High School.
Badovick scored 13 fourth-quarter points and 20 in the St. Paul victory.
The win sends Jeremy Bliss’s team to Lexington for the 6:15 p.m. game Thursday night against Colonel Crawford, a 60-44 winner over Plymouth for a sectional title at Galion.
“Audrey did a great job down the stretch but it still took a team to get her into position for those shots,” Bliss said. “Our senior leadership was key in the victory.
“Audrey’s teammates sense when it is time to go to her and she knows when it is time to take over,’’ he added. “We also got a key three-point shot from Taylor Brown to help off-set those three- balls St. Joe rained in late in the game.”
Badovick’s fourth field goal of the quarter extended St. Paul’s lead to 41-33 with just over two minutes left but the Lady Streaks were far from done. Tori Smith and Cassidy Frank eacj rained in two triples, forcing St. Paul to make foul shots to protect a shrinking lead.
And her teammates knew right where Badovick was over the final minutes, keeping the ball in her hands for free throws. She made 5-of-6 down the stretch, the last two just seconds after Frank cut the lead to a mere two points with 11 seconds left.
Unlike the regular-season meeting when they found themselves down by 10 points early in the first quarter, St. Joseph used near 50 percent shooting in the first period to build as much as a seven-point advantage.
Up by six going into the second, St. Joseph found a sudden change in opponent defense one it could not penetrate. On the other end, St. Paul ran off nine unanswered points, one started by Brown, continued by Badovick and followed by goals on each baseline from Allison Spence. Brown completed a run that turned a five-point deficit into a 20-16 lead. It was 20-18 at the intermission.
“We just couldn’t catch a break or a call to go with those three-balls my girls made,” St. Joseph coach Gary Geller said. “We did what we had to do in keeping it close including forcing them to hold the ball several times.
“But, in the end, we could not get to anyone other than the Badovick girl to foul,’’ he added. “And she was money again for them.”
Spence seconded Badovick with 12 points. The team numbers were 17-of-44, including 3-of-10 from above the arc and 9-of-13 from the line. They committed nine turnovers and had 24 rebounds, led by Hillary Fritz with six..
St. Joseph, which received 18 points from Smith, 15 from Frank and 10 from Binder, shot 19-o-50 overall and 7-of-18 from above the arc. They turned the ball over 12 times and posted 23 rebounds.
St. Paul 48
Bundschuh 1-0-2, Badovick 7-5-20, Brown 3-0-8, Fritz 1-1-3, Draime 1-1-3, Spence 5-2-12. Totals - 17-9-48.
St. Joseph 45
Flick 1-0-2, Binder 5-0-10, Smith 7-0-18, Frank 6-0-15. Totals 19-0-45.
Score by quarters
St. Paul 7 13 10 18 — 48
St. Joseph 13 5 11 16 — 45