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Shrine tops Our Lady of the Lakes first first Catholic League title since 1994

Basketball   | Jeff Dullack

Shrine tops Our Lady of the Lakes first first Catholic League title since 1994

Detroit – One of the biggest concerns Royal Oak Shrine had entering Sunday’s Catholic League C-D Final against Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes was the start of the game.

And while the first quarter could be described as forgettable for the Knights as they trailed 19-9 heading into the second quarter, Shrine would rebound behind a game-high 27 points from sophomore Grace Murray as the Knights would claim their first title Catholic League title since 1994 with a 52-49 win.

Shrine head coach Wayne Gigante said that while his team was focused on a better start to Sunday’s game, his team wasn’t flustered early deficit.

“Our initial concern was getting down early,” he said. “Because if you get down early – they’re athletic, they can run, they play that little 1-3-1 (defense) and it can kind of confuse you. But we’ve done this all year long, battling back.”

Entering the fourth quarter tied at 37-37, Shrine would use back-to-back baskets from Murray and Rebecca Kruliski to take a 43-39 lead with under five minutes left to play.

But Lakes would respond and retake the lead with 2:29 left to play behind five straight points from Tiffany Senerius to put the Lakers on top, 47-45.

“Our start was terrific, we had a great start to the day, they were all doing great things,” Lakes coach Steve Robak said. “The second quarter was their quarter, it ended kind of strange with the three free throws, so we still had a lead and it went down to the wire. It was a little hectic, chaotic, but we just didn’t defend well enough, even against everyone but (Murray). We just let girls dribble with their favorite hand to their favorite spot, which was a layup. We told the girls let’s learn from it and get ready for the next step of the road.”

Shrine would score the next seven points, including a basket while drawing a foul by Elizabeth Mantha that would put the Knights back on top, while holding Lakes scoreless for two minutes as Shrine held a 52-47 lead in the closing seconds of the game.

 Gigante said that after a poor start defensively, he felt it was his team’s defense that made the difference for the Knights in the final three quarters.

“Just playing defense, they were getting open looks,” he said. “We were doing some stuff, but we weren’t rotating and we kind of lost them and when you lose them for a second – one thing that team does is shoot the ball well.”