BELLEVILLE – The Father McGivney girl’s basketball team wrapped up their regular season with a non-conference road game against Althoff Catholic.
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The game saw the Griffins win by a score of 68-57 in a back-and-forth contest. The win brings McGivney’s regular season record to 28-3 and also breaks the program record for most wins in a single season.
Of those few losses, the Crusaders were one of them back on Nov. 17 by a score of 58-48.
The Griffins finished with a 27-8 record back in the 2019-20 season, but that record has now been broken.
McGivney head coach Jeff Oller acknowledged the milestone victory, but he and his team have higher hopes.
“That’s a great accomplishment, but they’ve got more on the table.,” he said.
Being the final game of the regular season and with Althoff hosting Senior Night and giving it everything they had, the game had a postseason feel to it.
“We talked about it prior to the game. It kind of felt like the postseason started now. We wanted to get momentum from this game going into the postseason,” Oller said. “Being able to keep composure down the stretch and those pressure moments, you can’t simulate that in practice, so to get that experience tonight is huge heading into next week.”
His team went 18-26 from the foul line with 14 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.
Monday is when the season metaphorically resets for McGivney with the upcoming win-or-go-home format.
The Griffins, who earned the No. 2 seed in their respected sub-sectional, await the winner between No. 9 Mt. Olive and No. 10 Bunker Hill. McGivney will play the winner of that game in the Regional Semifinals on Monday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. at Metro-East Lutheran High School.
The game Wednesday night at Althoff was certainly a physical one. Both teams took quite a beating in order to try and pick up the win.
“We put a few of these types of games on the schedule for that exact reason,” Oller said. “I can’t think of a postseason yet where it wasn’t just a physical game. It’s about getting ready for that moment. Everybody’s kind of used to it at this point.”
He mentioned that his team is healthy, ready to go for Monday, and celebrating this win.
“I think they’re in high spirits and I don’t think they are feeling anything but joy at the end of this game.”
The teams traded threes to open the game. McGivney had a couple from Mary Harkins while the Crusaders’ Bella Peterson kept pace. The game was tied at 6-6 before Althoff began to pull away to an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Claire Stanhaus got the scoring started for McGivney with a corner three followed by a Sami Oller basket. The Griffins were storming back but still trialed 28-26 at the half.
Harkins began the second half with a three to take the lead at 29-28. She later tied the game up at 32 before making another three to go ahead 37-36.
The Griffins found themselves in foul trouble, sending Althoff to the line toward the end of the third quarter. Some made free throws and a buzzer-beater layup from the Crusaders, and they were up 43-42 after three.
An Oller free throw tied the game at 43 but Althoff pulled away to a short-lived 51-46 lead early on in the fourth.
Harkins scored another three and then was fouled on a three-point attempt. After going 3-3 during her trip to the line she tied the game back up at 52.
Oller scored a three and another quick basket to make it 57-52 McGivney. Alexis Bond went 4-4 from the line down the stretch and then Harkins made both of her foul shots to put the game to bed.
“These girls have supreme confidence,” coach Oller said, “they never feel like they’re out of it.”
“They’ve done it a few times this year where they just go out and do not pay attention to the score. They just got a little chip on their shoulder and that’s how they play.”
Harkins and Oller combined for 45 points, Harkins with 26, and Oller with 19. Harkins made a team-high five threes.
“They’ve been doing it all year,” coach Oller said about the two. “When one’s not scoring as much, the other one is. They’re stars in their roles, they do their jobs, and they’re just out here to compete and win.”
Bond finished the night with an even 10 points while Julia Stobe added eight. Stanhaus finished with three and Emily Johnson had two.
Althoff had three in double digits. Charleece Davis led with 19 points while Peterson had 12 and Emilee Travnicek had 11. Alaina Lester added eight and Anna Brewer finished with seven.
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