BONNE TERRE — Ste. Genevieve refused to concede defeat despite trailing by 16 points in the fourth quarter Thursday night, and nearly handed North County its first setback in MAAA Large-School conference play.
But the Lady Raiders watched a potential tying 3-pointer graze the side rim as time expired, and narrowly prevailed at home 49-46 after being limited to one field goal over the final six minutes.
Sophomore guard Jenna McGraw paced her team with 12 points, and gave North County a 46-30 advantage by hitting two free throws. Senior Brittany Collins tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
The Lady Raiders (11-5) held Ste. Genevieve to just 27 percent shooting from the field, and improved to 3-0 atop the league standings with games against Fredericktown and Potosi upcoming next week.
Senior guard Abby Meyer netted a game-high 13 points for the Hunters (8-9), and sparked a spirited comeback down the stretch with her second and third 3-pointers of the contest.
Paige Schmelzle further reduced the margin to 49-42 with another triple off an inbounds pass, and Ste. Genevieve capped an 11-1 run with baskets from post players Hanna Klein and Jasmine Kuehn after forcing two turnovers.
Neither team scored over the final 1:36 despite having plenty of chances. North County forced a long jumper and twice missed 1-and-1 free throws inside the final minute, but Ste. Genevieve could not capitalize.
The Hunters executed a sideline inbounds play with four seconds left that sprang junior Morgan Grither for an uncontested look. However, her attempt from the right wing fell short.
Kuehn posted 11 points with nine rebounds, and Klein had eight points with 12 boards overall. Ste. Genevieve has dropped five of its last six games while playing the last three without suspended head coach Mark Vogt.
Collins made her first two shots of the game off broken pressure, and North County never trailed following an initial 9-2 spurt. Marissa Bonney extended the lead to 21-11 with consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter.
North County delivered a timely 7-0 run in the third after a putback from Klein brought the Hunters within 28-21. Mikayla Barlow grabbed an offensive rebound and alertly found McGraw for a 3-pointer during the sequence.
The Lady Raiders, who finished just 6-of-14 from the line, established its maximum lead at 42-24 and coaxed 20 Ste. Genevieve turnovers.
The Hunters will host a showdown against Farmington this evening before closing out their conference schedule Monday at Potosi.
Ste. Genevieve 9 8 12 17 – 46
North County 13 13 16 7 – 49
Ste. Genevieve – Abby Meyer 13, Jasmine Kuehn 11, Hanna Klein 8, Paige Schmelzle 7, Elle Korenak 6, Morgan Grither 1. 3-point FG – Meyer 3, Schmelzle. (FT: 12-21)
North County – Jenna McGraw 12, Brittany Collins 10, Marissa Bonney 9, Mikayla Barlow 7, Brandi Hartrup 5, Kourtney Kekec 4, Paige Charboneau 2. 3-point FG – Bonney 3, McGraw, Hartrup. (FT: 6-14)