Orrick trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, but finished with a flourish as the Lady Bearcats advanced to the I-70 Conference Tournament championship game with a 52-48 win over St. Paul. Orrick, now 2-0, will meet Concordia in the title game at Wellington-Napoleon Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Defense sparked the Lady Bearcat comeback as they shutout the Saints in the final period, while four different players reached double figures in scoring to pace the effort on the other end of the court.
“We had a rough three quarters to start the game,” Orrick Coach Mitch Comstock said. “I was proud that our girls never gave up when we were down in the third quarter. We picked up our defensive intensity on the fourth quarter and were able to pull out the win.”
Audrey Mehle had the hot scoring touch for St. Paul in the first half as she posted 18 of her 20 points to help the Saints to a 32-29 lead.
The Saints took a 48-40 cushion into the final 8 minutes, but the Orrick defense put the clamps on the St. Paul offense through the fourth frame.
Amanda Rodenberg and Megan Swartz led the Orrick offense with 12 points each, while Amy Isenhour hit for 11 with Leslie LaFavor adding 10 and Shelby Harth, 7.
Swartz hit four of her buckets from outside the 3-point arc, while Isenhour hit a pair and LaFavor had one for the Lady Bearcats to provide the outside scoring punch. Orrick converted 5 of its dozen free throws, while St. Paul made 2 of 3 – all of those in the first half.