DETROIT — Up 21-10 on Clarkston Everest going into the fourth quarter in the CHSL final Feb. 16 at Calihan Hall, Bishop Foley seemingly had the Catholic League C-D title in its hands.
After relinquishing the lead with 9.2 seconds left in the game, Foley was forced to retake the title, and that’s just what the Ventures did as Kristen Doxen found Renee Fischer open under the basket for the game-winning layup with 1.5 seconds to go. Doxen deflected the Everest inbounds pass to secure the 27-26 victory.
“I had contact with my point guard Kristen (Doxen), and we locked in, and I just said go to the basket and I felt very comfortable with that,” Foley coach Dave Joseph said. “Those two work on that; that’s our bread and butter. If Kristen’s driving to the basket, then Renee knows to free herself underneath.”
Foley was in complete control of the contest until the start of the fourth quarter. The Ventures jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind two 3s from Alexis Ramirez and held Everest down from there.
Everest, making its first-ever appearance at Calihan Hall for a C-D final, made a furious rally right from the start of the fourth. After sitting back in a zone defense for most of the game, Everest’s pressure defense helped spark a 13-3 run during which Foley committed eight turnovers.
Everest’s Lucia Westrick tied the game at 25 with 29.5 seconds to go, and she would give the Mountaineers a 26-25 lead by hitting one of two free throws after stealing a Foley pass and getting fouled on a shot attempt.
“We were definitely struggling to put the ball in the basket. I think the ball pressure helped to get us going and we started to take shots in the paint and convert them into points,” Everest coach Erin Van Wagoner said.
Westrick had 10 points and 11 rebounds to lead Everest (13-7).
The win gave Foley its first Catholic League title since 1998, and it was the Ventures’ first win against Everest in three tries this season.
Doxen led Foley with 10 points. She also grabbed five rebounds, while Ramirez added seven points and seven rebounds.
Joseph thought that the inexperience of both teams playing at Calihan Hall may have contributed to the low-scoring affair.
“I thought today that we would have to get into the 40s to win, but our defense was outstanding today,” Joseph said. “It’s tough to play down here in this venue if you’re not used to it, and we had the same problem scoring as well as they did.”
The win capped off a turnaround season for Foley in league play when it initially appeared the Ventures would not be a compete for a league title. Foley started 2-5 in league play but has won seven games in a row.
“We turned the page at that point when we were 2-5. We sat down, we looked at film and we looked at ourselves. We didn’t look at the other teams but we said this is what we have to change about ourselves and that’s what the kids did.”
Foley will begin district play in class C with a home contest against Wixom St. Catherine on Feb. 24. Everest will open its postseason tournament in class D by hosting Warren Macomb Christian on Feb. 26.