LOWER GWYNEDD >> Grace DiGiovanni drilled a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the fourth quarter to give visiting Mount Saint Joseph Academy a thrilling 40-39 win over rival and host Gwynedd Mercy Academy Tuesday night.
The visitors grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw in the closing seconds of the game and the ball found its way to DiGiovanni, who nailed a triple to give the Mount the clutch victory.
In a back and forth battle, the Mount overcame a five-point deficit at the end of the first quarter to seize a 22-16 lead at the half.
That lead held and even increased to nine points by the end of the third quarter.
But the Monarchs rallied in the fourth quarter, outscoring their foes, 14-6. But DiGiovanni’s triple being the difference.
“Actually, on my team I’m not known as a shooter,” the heroine said. “This is such a big win because this is a big rivalry. This is the game everyone comes to.”
And everyone seemed to come to this one, as a raucous crowd screamed with every made field goal and groaned at every miss.
The home team bolted to a five-point lead after one quarter, as Alissa Martin scored seven first-quarter points.
But the visitors bounced back, and behind the scoring of DiGiovanni and teammate Lauren Vesey grabbed a 6-point halftime lead.
The Mount stretched that lead to 33-26 after three quarters and were seemingly in command until the Monarchs rallied behind strong defense and opportunistic offense.
The Mount came up empty on five straight trips down the floor until DiGiovanni delivered her game-winner.
“We had to keep our cool,” DiGiovanni said. “That’s what won the game.”
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 40, GWYNEDD-MERCY 39
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 7-15-11-7 — 40
GWYNEDD MERCY 7-4-15-15 — 39
Mount Saint Joseph (40) – Grace DiGiovanni 5 0-0 11; Lauren Vesey 3 1-2 7; Rothenberg 3 1-1 7; L. Cunningham 0 1-2 1; G. Niekelski 1 2-4 4; Erin Bethel 3 0-0 7; M. Dodano 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 5-9 40.
Gwynedd-Mercy (39) – Conroy 6 1-2 13; Hutton 1 0-0 2; Bridget Casey 1 1-2 3; C. Heineman 0 3-3 3; Alissa Martin 3 0-0 7; G. Cattie 0 2-2 2; White 2 2-2 6; Griffin 1 0-0 3. Totals: 14 9-11 39.
3-point goals: Martin; Griffin; DiGiovanni; Bethel.