Brianna Thomas has been able to ride the stationary bike only during practice the last few days. She has a severely sprained left index finger and has missed two games.
Thomas came off the bench last night, however, and helped host St. John the Baptist by going 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter of a 51-45 win over St. Anthony's in CHSAA girls basketball.
Thomas (10 points) hit two free throws with 1:09 left in the game to give SJB (11-9, 8-2) a 47-45 lead.
"I just put the pain out of my mind and focused on making the free throws," Thomas said. "I just wanted to be aggressive and take it to the basket."
Anastasia Williams went 1-for-2 from the foul line with 29 seconds left and Alexis Smith (17 points) hit two free throws with 22 seconds left to make it 50-45.
SJB, which won the battle on the boards 58-26, outscored the Friars 15-6 in the final quarter. The Cougars held St. Anthony's (15-4, 7-2) scoreless for the final 4:50 of the game, including 0-for-5 from the foul line.
Thomas hit two free throws with 5:01 left in the fourth to tie the score at 42. Shannon White then hit a three-pointer with 4:50 left to give the Friars a 45-42 lead. Smith got a steal at midcourt and scored on a layup to tie the score at 45 with 3:08 left in the fourth.
Then the defense on both sides made things very difficult. Neither team scored until Thomas hit two free throws with 1:09 left.
The Friars led for almost the entire second half. Symone Kelly played in her first game since being involved in a car accident Jan. 21 along with three other teammates. Kelly scored 14 points, but came in and out of the game because of fatigue.
The Friars opened the second half with a 12-2 run. Kelly scored six points during the spurt and capped it with a short jumper to give the Friars a 33-28 lead with 4:29 left. Christine Bosco hit a three-pointer to bring SJB within 35-33 with 1:04 left in the third.
The Friars answered back on two free throws from White and a jumper from the top of the key by Carolyn Lizza (10 points) to extend the lead to 39-33. It was their biggest lead of the game.
St. Anthony's led 12-10 after one quarter, but St. John the Baptist dominated most of the second quarter. Kamala Thompson ignited a 12-0 run and Lindsey Minor capped the spurt with a steal at midcourt and she went in for the layup to make it 22-12 with 3:35 left in the half.
"We're right back in the mix for first place," Thomas said. "That's our goal."