BSM Girls’ Basketball Defeated Against Totino-Grace

Kathleen Ambre

Facing undefeated Totino-Grace, defending state champions who have won 40 of their last 41 games, BSM’s girls’ varsity basketball team played a competitive first half — ahead by two points  but small mistakes and limited shots later in the game allowed Totino to pull ahead. The game resulted in a 55-44 loss for the young BSM team, their third of the season so far. 
The Totino-Grace girls’ varsity team has always been recognized for their talented and experienced players. Their 8-0 conference record dominates the other 10 fairly equal teams. Aside from Totino’s recent superiority, “there is good parity in the conference,” said BSM head coach Bob Lyons. However, closely fought BSM-Totino-Grace games  for the state and conference titles in the past three years have generated a notable tension between the two schools. 
The notorious rivalry between the two teams resulted in a heated game. Parents from both sides challenged calls that were not in their favor and a number of steals and turnovers kept the girls on their toes. “Both teams realized the history and tradition and had more incentive,”  said head coach Bob Lyons. 
Fouls committed by Totino early on in the half consistently brought the Red Knights to the line, giving much-needed catchup points to keep the game within reach. However, Benilde-St. Margaret’s continued to struggle to sink both free throws and Totino’s second half full-court press pressured the girls to make fundamental mistakes. Intercepted passes and missed shots allowed Totino to reinforce an early lead.
Coach Bob Lyons knew this game would be a challenge, given Totino-Grace’s dominance in the North Suburban Conference, but also had reason to believe that his 14 to 17 year-old team would play up to their potential: “We’re a good enough team that we compete with any team we play and it will be a close game.”
Noted as one of the youngest girls’ varsity teams in the state, Mr. Lyons said “It’s definitely a learning experience.” He also looks forward to the development of less experienced sophomore and freshman players and improvement of returning juniors. Without seniors on the team, he said, there sometimes seems to be “a void of leadership,” but with plenty of time for player development and collaboration, next year the rivalry game might end a little differently.