In its final tune-up before the Class 4A state tournament starts next week, Loyola rallied from a halftime deficit to beat Kalamazoo Central (Michigan) 48-40 at the Lady Mustangs Shootout at South Shore in Chicago.
The Ramblers (19-10) also welcomed back sophomore guard Julia Martinez, who missed the previous two games with a sprained right ankle. She started and played every minute of the first three quarters. She finally took a seat in the closing minutes of the fourth.
“She said she felt good,” Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “A big thing for us was to get some of her conditioning back and to see how her ankle responded. She said she felt comfortable out there, and she played like her old self, which was great to see.”
Martinez finished with nine points, nine assists, 14 rebounds and two steals. Senior forward Clare Nelson led the Ramblers with 12 points.
Loyola trailed 18-10 early in the second quarter before going on a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the game on a basket by sophomore forward Celia Satter with 2 minutes, 23 seconds to go in the half. The Ramblers went into intermission down 23-22.
Loyola turned the tide in the second half and won going away.
“It was good to see some ball pressure and for them to play us physically inside,” Schoenecker said. “Those are things we will see in the state playoffs.”
Loyola, the No. 4 seed at the Class 4A Niles West Sectional, plays either No. 14 Leyden or No. 20 Lincoln Park on Tuesday in the regional semifinals at Trinity.
“We continue to stress having quality offensive possessions and ball movement,” Schoenecker said. “We spent the last week focusing on ourselves, and the things we need to get better at.”