Even in the relentless competitive environment of the OHSL Liberty division and Section III Class B, the Bishop Grimes girls basketball team has good reason to think that it can not just survive, but thrive in the 2013-14 season.
A year ago, the Cobras, with just two seniors on its roster, went 14-4 in the regular season and then notched Class B sectional tournament wins over General Brown and Holland Patent before falling in the semifinals to eventual champion Utica-Notre Dame.
Though Megan Driscoll and Alex Guhin graduated, everyone else is back for head coach John Cifonelli, and it didn’t take long for that vast experience to prove valuable.
Grimes visited Hannibal for Monday night’s season opener, and was in big trouble going to the fourth quarter, only to make a dramatic comeback and, in overtime, beat the Warriors 59-51.
Everything looked fine for the Cobras when it sped to an 18-13 first-quarter lead. But Hannibal caught up by halftime, 23-23, and nearly doubled Grimes’ output in the third period.
By the time they reached the fourth quarter, the Cobras trailed 43-33, but working inside and out, it chipped away at the deficit, using defensive pressure to get more possessions and tying it, 45-45, on Teresa Shattuck’s lay-up with 29 seconds left.
As regulation time ran out, Grimes had a shot to win it, but missed, and in the scramble that followed, the Cobras were whistled for a foul with no time left. Given a one-and-one chance to end it, Hannibal missed, and it went to overtime.
Stunned by both Grimes’ comeback and that missed free throw, Hannibal never recovered as Jordan Vaught hit a jumper early in the OT, and the Cobras proceeded to make 10 consecutive free throws to put away the victory.
Tina Hoag and Katy McInerney each finished with 14 points, with Hoag getting six of those OT free throws and Vaught the other four on her way to 13 points.
Shattuck managed eight points and five rebounds as Megan Costello got eight rebounds and three steals, to go with five points, a total matched by Maria Gronau. For Hannibal, Devin Sorrell and Gabby Griffin each had 14 points, with Spencer Kenney adding 13 points and 10 rebounds.