The St. Viator girls basketball team started and ended its final regular-season home game with five seniors on the floor Monday night.
That couldn't have been more fitting because it was "Senior Night" for the Lions.
Annie Campbell, Colleen Dunne, Katie Gavin, Mallory Hess, Morgan Hess, Stephanie Mazanek and Lauren Rooney were honored prior to St. Viator's 52-36 victory over Joliet Catholic at the Cahill Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.
"It was an awesome 'Senior Night,'" said St. Viator coach Paul Bjerkness, whose team improved to 16-12 and 3-5 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. "It's a special group of girls and I thought they had a great game playing their last regular-season game in this gym."
Sophomore guard Erin Fabbri led the Lions with 16 points, 14 coming in the middle quarters. She also had 8 rebounds 2 steals and an assist.
"Erin had a great game," Bjerkness said. "And Lauren (Rooney) had a great rebounding game. I think we are playing our best basketball now."
"It was nice to see all our seniors step up," said Rooney, who pulled down 10 rebounds with 2 steals and 2 assists. "Colleen (Dunne) made some great hustle plays."
After falling behind 15-8, the Lions hustled back with a 14-1 run, taking their first lead when Fabbri made 2 free throws with 3:40 left in the first half.
Mallory Hess followed with a nice lead pass on the fastbreak to Fabbri for a layup and 19-16 lead.
"We were a little slow at the start, making some bad passes, but then we got things together." said Hess, who had 12 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
An off-balance 3-pointer by sophomore Christine Ekhomu (16 points) at the first-half buzzer got Joliet Catholic (8-14, 1-6) to within 24-21.
Ekhomu hit another 3-pointer to tie the game at 28 in the third quarter before Viator put the game away with a 15-0 run, that included a 3-pointer by Jennie Horstmann (5 points) to start the final period.
A rebound by Gavin (8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) and assist to Hess for a layup capped the decisive rally, making the score 43-28 with 5:32 left.
Also contributing on the boards for Viator were Mary Cleary with 5 rebounds and Morgan Hess with 4.
"St. Viator played well and made less mistakes than us," said Angels coach Ed Schodrof. "We have to clean up our game. Other teams have been making fewer mistakes than us."
Wheeling 53, Huntley 42: Coming off her 24-point performance in Saturday's 60-45 win at Prospect, Wheeling senior Kellie Kuzmanic tossed in a team-high 14 points with a pair of 3-pointers in the nonconference game at Huntley.
The Wildcats (8-16), who won for the third time in four games, also received 9 points from freshman Deanna Kuzmanic.
Junior Jessi Zuba and senior Leah Malsom each chipped in 8 for Wheeling, which hosts Elk Grove today.
Elk Grove 57, Maine East 34: Elk Grove's five-game losing streak that began with an overtime heartbreaker was over by halftime Monday night against visiting Maine East.
The Grenadiers (8-13) led by 29 points after 16 minutes and cruised in with a 57-34 nonconference boys basketball victory.
"We came out and put the throttle on defensively," said Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman of his team's 37-8 lead at the break after a 25-4 second quarter. "They had a hard time with our fullcourt pressure. It was a much-needed win."
Kishan Patel and Zach Solorio led the balanced attack with 11 points apiece. Jeff Miceli added 10 points for the Grenadiers, who host Prospect at 7:30 p.m. Friday.