The clock ticked under a minute with St. Pius X girls’ basketball team clinging to a two-point lead Thursday evening at Notre Dame de Sion.
St. Pius X sophomore Amanda Hayes calmly dribbled into the paint, passed to sophomore Abby Hipp, who made the layup that gave the Warriors a four-point cushion.
“It was huge,” said Hipp, who finished with a game-high 26 points. “She drew the double and then kicked it. It was a great pass.”
The composure the youthful Warriors displayed in the final minute was a contributing factor in their 54-48 victory over de Sion.
“That showed a lot to me,” St. Pius coach Bob Fenzel said. “That will help us down the road in district to show that kind of composure. That was major.”
St. Pius, which improved to 15-2, lost its lead in the third quarter and midway through the fourth quarter but never went into panic mode.
On the strength of Hipp’s 16 points in the first half, the Warriors went into halftime with a 29-26 lead.
De Sion did a great job of taking Hipp out of the offense in the third quarter and on the strength of eight points from sophomore Madeline Dercher, the Storm moved ahead 35-31.
A three-pointer by St. Pius freshman Antoinette Mussorici pulled the Warriors to within one at 35-34. Mussorici scored five of her nine points in the third quarter.
“They were big,” Fenzel said. “Being a freshman, a tough game, I think it showed a lot in her maturity. I know being a freshman, a lot more maturity has to take place, but this was a step in the process.”
Still, the Warriors entered the final quarter trailing 39-37. St. Pius immediately went ahead to start the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by senior Toni Monachino.
Midway through the fourth quarter, St. Pius trailed again at 45-44. The Warriors went in front for good at 46-45 on two free throws from sophomore Natalie Denzer.
The game was tied 46-46 when Denzler made a basket, giving the Warriors a 48-46 lead. After a defensive stop, St. Pius had the ball with just over a minute left.
The Warriors patiently moved the ball around, waiting for a good shot. And that is when Hayes made the nice move inside and passed the ball to Hipp for a layup with 36 seconds left.
De Sion responded with a basket from freshman Amaya Adams with 23 seconds left. But Hipp made sure the Warriors stayed ahead by making four straight free throws in the final 15 seconds.
“I felt pressure on the first two more than the last two,” Hipp said. “You just have to be confident.”
Junior Camille Keane led de Sion with 15 points and sophomore Madeline Dercher added 13 points.