PALOS HEIGHTS | Sometimes when things get off on the wrong foot, you try to walk it out and keep going.
That is what happened to St. Francis de Sales on Thursday night as it stumbled out of the gate, then fell a few more times by getting in foul trouble in a 64-52 loss to Aurora Central Catholic in the Class 2A Chicago Christian Sectional final.
The Pioneers (17-11) were looking to win the program's first-ever sectional title, but a late comeback attempt was not enough.
What turned the game was a technical foul in the second quarter with Aurora Central Catholic leading 22-17.
St. Francis' freshman Alanna Slaughter fouled the Chargers' Alex DeCraene and out of frustration, threw the ball and hit a Charger. She was assessed a technical foul and Central Catholic went on an 11-4 run to take a 33-21 halftime lead.
"I didn't mean to hit her, I just was throwing the ball back to the referee," Slaughter said. "I think that hurt us a little, but we knew we had to get back together and play."
St. Francis battled back, but got down 21 points, 53-32, but made another run.
"It seemed like every time we made a run, we put them at the foul line," St. Francis coach Terrence Streater said. "They made 20 (26) free throws and I think we shot 10. That's the game right there.
"I am proud of the way we battled back."
Tyler Brown-Henderson led the Pioneers with 24 points. She said the technical had a bearing, but the her team also dug itself in a hole.
"We didn't get a lot of call (13 first-half fouls), but we also missed some shots, turned the ball over," she said. "Coach told us it was a game of runs, so we went out and tried to put one together."
Isis Mance had 15 points, all on 3-pointers.
"The best thing is everyone is returning next year," Streater said.