Maine South drops heartbreaker to No. 1 Loyola

Loyola reached back and found a way to stay unbeaten Thursday night in the Class 4A Maine South sectional title game.

The Ramblers rallied from a five-point deficit with 2:45 left to upended Maine South 53-47 before at sold-out crowd of 2,100 in Park Ridge.

Loyola (35-0) will meet Libertyville Monday at the Libertyville supersectional at 7 p.m. Libertyville advanced by beating Hononegah 51-35.

“We talked before the game about the feeling last year when we walked out of the gym after losing to them,” Loyola coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “This group was ready.”

Loyola was able to turn the tables in the final minutes thanks to a scrappy team that forced 15 Maine South turnovers and held the Hawks to 12-of-43 shooting including just 3-of-22 from outside the arc.

It was a tough loss for Maine South. The Hawks beat Loyola in the sectional final last year 49-38. The Hawks then lost in the supersectional to Hersey.

This was the sixth consecutive playoff season that the Hawks have made it to the sectionals and third consecutive year they have made it to the sectional finals.

“We came here to get another one, but it just didn't happen,” Maine South coach Jeff Hamann said. “I could not be prouder of our team.”

Maine South (31-2), which posted the second highest win total in school history, was tied with Loyola at 36-36 with 7:49 to play.

The Hawks then scored six unanswered points on a basket by Katie Barker, a scoop layup from Meegan Fahy and a pair of free throws by Asia Kobylarczyk to lead 42-36 with 4:52 left.

Loyola cut the lead to 42-40 before Fahy drilled a long three-pointer to move the Hawks ahead 45-40 with 2:45 left.

Loyola responded by tying the game at 45 on a basket by Clare Weasler and three-pointer by Aubrey Galvin.

Maine South took its final lead with 1:36 left on a pair of free throws by Fahy. They then had an opportunity for a huge stop when Galvin misfired on a three. But Weasler rebounded and found Galvin who made good on her second chance at a three to put the Ramblers up 48-47 with 1:09 to play.

The Hawks turned the ball over at midcourt and Loyola went on to seal the win from the free-throw line.

“We had a five-point lead there,” Hamann said. “But they came down and made big plays themselves. That’s what championship teams are able to do. Things didn't go well for us in the last couple of minutes and that is how it is.”

Hamann said the uncharacteristic turnovers and poor shooting helped seal his team’s fate.

“Typically we don't turn the ball over a lot,” Hamann said. “We average less than 10 per game. We just couldn't get the ball to go down on out threes. If a couple do, it could be a different story.”

Fahey paced Maine South early as the Hawks broke to a 12-9 lead.

But Galvin then heated up. The junior drilled a trio of the-pointers, including a step-back bomb at the buzzer as the Ramblers opened up an 18-14 lead after one period.

Paige Engels had a driving basket for Loyola as they opened up a 20-14 lead with 5:17 left in the first half.

That's when the Maine South defense stepped. They limited Loyola to just 1-of-10 shooting through the first 7-1/2 minutes of the second quarter while forcing five turnovers.

Maine South did rally to pull ahead 22-20 on a basket by Kobylarczyk with 56 seconds left in the half. But the Hawks only shot only 3-of-14 in the period as Galvin’s layup just before the half tied it at 22-22.

Fahy finished with 21 points while Ally Pape, Caitlin Leyden and Kobylarczyk each scored six points and Barker added five points.

Galvin lead Loyola with 24 points while Engels had 19 points.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.