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Walther Lutheran built an early lead and withstood two second-half runs by St. Joseph as the teams met on the final day of the 19th annual Willowbrook Lady Warriors Thanksgiving tournament.
The Broncos hit five-of-eight free throws in the final minute of the contest to earn a 58-51 victory Wednesday afternoon in Villa Park.
Dana Turner (eight rebounds) led all scorers with 21 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, when Walther Lutheran saw the Chargers cut the deficit to just three points in the opening minutes of the period.
“We just had to stay focused and play our game,” said Turner. “We knew what we could do and we knew that we could run them down and that is what we did. We have not been known for shooting free throws, so we have really been working on that.”
Isimeme Edeko added 12 points and six rebounds for the Broncos (3-2), who used a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter to build a 30-19 lead at the intermission.
St. Joseph had trouble overcoming 16 first-half turnovers, and trailed 19-11 after the first period.
The Chargers (2-3) opened the second half on a 10-2 run and trimmed the deficit to 33-32 on a Kaci Beemon basket with less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Beemon finished with 11 points, while junior Deja Horn added 13 tallies along with four steals and six assists.
A basket by St. Joseph’s Shaakera Jones (nine points) early in the final period cut the Broncos lead to 42-39 after they missed six shots to open the quarter.
“It is the time of year where you can learn what you have to work on, and go back and work on it,” explained St. Joseph coach Jim Maley. “I believe we have a good core, and I believe we are going to win a lot of games.”