Not protecting the basketball finally caught up with the Loyola girls team, and it resulted in first loss of the season for the Ramblers.

Loyola (2-1) turned over the ball 22 times, including three times in the final minute, of its 54-48 loss to Bogan at New Trier’s Thanksgiving tournament Wednesday in Wilmette.

The Ramblers totaled for 45 turnovers in road wins against Harlan and Phillips last week, but Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker knew that wasn’t a recipe for sustained success.

“You can’t turn it over that many times and think you’re a good basketball team,” he said. “The challenge is teaching our players the value of holding onto the basketball. If we keep making these mistakes, we won’t beat anybody.”

Despite the careless handling of the ball, the Ramblers led by as many as 13 in the second half. Senior guard Mary Dooley’s two free throws 14 seconds into the fourth quarter put Loyola ahead 44-35.

But the Bengals (3-0) went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 44-all, the first time the game had been tied since the 5:07 mark of the second quarter. Loyola regained the lead, 45-44, on one free throw by junior forward Lilly Wehman (pictured above). But Bogan’s 3-pointer with 5:13 remaining in the fourth quarter put the Bengals ahead for good.

After senior guard Madison Kane’s layup with 1:45 to go on the clock got Loyola within two, 50-48, the Ramblers had two possessions to either tie the game or take the lead. But they turned over the ball both times.

“We didn’t do ourselves any favors [Wednesday],” Schoenecker said.

Wehman scored a team-best 13 points. Sophomore guard Julia Martinez finished with 12 points, 10 of which came in the first half as Loyola built a 28-18 lead at intermission. Junior guard Erin Dillon added nine points, all on 3-pointers.

Loyola plays New Trier (2-1) at 2 p.m. Friday on the road. The Trevians’ lone loss was a 54-50 defeat to Bogan in Chicago last week.

Photo credit: Melissa Krein