AUBURN — Down double digits Monday night more quickly than you could say “worst nightmare,” the St. Dom’s girls’ basketball team at least had recent historical perspective to know the damage could be undone.

The Saints saw such a lead blow up last time they encountered Oak Hill. Only problem that time: They were the ones left holding the dynamite, watching the Raiders race to a win in Wales.

“We knew being up by 11 the first time we played them that it’s possible to come back,” St. Dom’s junior Faith Grady said. “We missed plays and we knew we were struggling, but we knew we could come back.”

St. Dom’s trailed all evening until Grady’s steal and layup with 5:57 remaining. It was an appropriate gateway to the comeback, because Grady’s 19 points and 10 steals were largely responsible for the rally and a huge 44-38 MVC triumph at Callahan Family Gym.

Senior point guard Kelly Pomerleau also did her share to right the ship. Despite a smothering defensive effort led by Oak Hill’s Danielle Samson, Pomerleau produced 11 points, six assists and four steals. She was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:52 of her final home game.

“It’s a 32-minute game, and when we’ve got the best player in the league (Pomerleau) and great players around her, we don’t panic,” St. Dom’s coach Jon Berry said. “I wouldn’t have been surprised if Oak Hill had gone on to win by 20, but again, our team has come back from similar. I knew that quitting wasn’t going to be in the equation.”

Not derailed by an 0-for-8 performance compounded by 11 turnovers in the first quarter, St. Dom’s (13-3), already assured a berth in the MVC championship game against Spruce Mountain, likely clinched a top-two seed and a first-round bye in the Class C West tournament. The Saints entered the night ranked No. 1 in the region.

Freshman Chloe Dwinell added 11 points and nine rebounds for St. Dom’s.

Samson and Meagan Crosby each scored eight points to lead Oak Hill (11-4), which saw an eight-game winning streak snapped. Crosby ripped down 16 rebounds.

Sadie Goulet, Samson and Grace Sabine each buried a 3-pointer during St. Dom’s extended cold snap out of the gate, staking the Raiders to an 11-0 lead.

Dwinell broke the spell by sinking a free throw with 26 seconds remaining. The Saints didn’t score with a running clock until Grady’s swipe and coast-to-coast journey to a 3-point play with 6:46 left in the half.

St. Dom’s might have been dying on the inside, but nobody would have known.

“We do (get nervous) in the locker room. We don’t like to show it,” Grady said. “Coach likes to say keep our game face on, but it’s hard sometimes.”

Oak Hill still led 19-13 at the half. That advantage topped out at eight on a Goulet 3-pointer before back-to-back Grady buckets and Pomerleau’s hook shot for her first points of the night cut it to 22-20.

“I don’t like to single out players, but yeah, as much attention as she got tonight and as much competitiveness and grace that she had under pressure, I might give her a little bit of credit tonight, just this one time,” Berry joked, speaking of Pomerleau.

Grady earned her fair share of praise, as well. After setting up a Dwinell 18-footer, Grady checked in with another transition hoop courtesy of her own thievery.

Pomerleau knocked down three of four from the line in the closing seconds of the quarter to make it 28-27 before Grady put the Saints on top for the first time.

“We changed up defenses a little bit, but the main common factor was Faith Grady made a lot of defensive plays,” Berry said. “She really disrupted their offense a lot, kept them off balance. She gave us a chance. Especially when Callie (Greco) picked up her fourth foul in the second quarter, we needed somebody to pick us up, and she did.”

Pomerleau fed Grady hoops on consecutive trips in a 22-second stretch to give the Saints the lead for keeps with under three minutes to go.

In addition to her six points from the line, Pomerleau drew an offensive foul to stymie a late Raiders possession. St. Dom’s forced 37 Oak Hill turnovers on the night and committed only five of its own in the second half.

“I just fastened my seat belt. I knew it was going to be a long night,” Berry said. “Oak Hill always packs a lunch. They come and play hard and get after us. They’re one of our toughest matchups. They’re a great team.”


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