“I thought Meredith did a nice job being patient and finding the gaps and getting shots off,” said Todd Hamlet. “But it took four other girls to get her open.
“(St. Francis) has got the two tall kids in the middle and we knew if they got off on us tonight we’d be in trouble, so we had to really play hard defensively. I think that’s what won it for us.”
St. Francis, which went undefeated in the Lake Michigan Conference, came into the contest riding an 11-game winning streak.
“St. Francis is a great team and you know what, it’s not only the team you’re playing here, it’s the tradition,” said Todd Hamlet. “It’s a great place to get a win against a great team and a great coach. Somebody had to lose tonight, but I have a lot of respect for them.”
Adversity struck the Gladiators just minutes into the game when junior guard Megan Knudsen was injured and never returned. St. Francis wasn’t affected by that initially as the two teams played a back-and-forth first quarter where the difference was never more than two points. McBain led 15-14 after the first period. As McBain got its defense going, Knudsen’s absence was more pronounced.
“That kind of put us in a situation where we had to do things we weren’t used to,” said St. Francis coach Mike Knudsen. “It was hard to recover from that. They turned the heat up on us and they didn’t allow us to run the things we normally do. McBain played a great game. They’re solid. They just outplayed us tonight.
“I told the girls ‘keep your heads high. You’ve had a season to be proud of.’ We accomplished a lot of our goals — going undefeated at home during the regular season, winning the Katie Heintz tournament, winning the conference. We were hoping to win a district, but it just didn’t work out.”