By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Angels fall to Seneca in Wilmington Sectional final


Last updated 2/21/2020 at 5:41pm

With 5:36 remaining in their IHSA Class 2A Wilmington Sectional championship game, Joliet Catholic Academy junior Jenna Hernandez' steal and coast-coast score gave the Angels a 36-33 lead.

The Angels (17-18) would not score another point.

Seneca (27-7), behind their 6-1 junior center Madison Bromberek (10 points, 16 rebounds, nine blocked shots) and 5-foot-8 senior Mara Bruno (five points, 13 rebounds), rallied past JCA, for a 40-36 victory.

Bromberek scored five consecutive points to give the Lady Irish a 38-36 lead with 2:50 left in regulation.

JCA's fantastic-freshman Jazz Brown (13 points, 10 rebounds), on four successive Angel series drove to the basket and have Bromberek block her shot.

Bromberek, had six of her nine blocked shots in the fourth quarter. On two successive Brown drives, it appeared that the Angel freshman was fouled.

Clinging to the two-point lead, the Lady Irish misfired on six consecutive free-throws, but claimed the offensive rebounds. Bruno had five offensive rebounds in the last 90 seconds of the game.

With 11 seconds remaining, Seneca senior Arberita Jashari (four points) buried a pair of free throws to seal the victory for Seneca.

Missed opportunities and 25 Angel turnovers led to the heart-breaking defeat in Wilmington.

In her last game as an Angel, senior Mia Bertrino, ended her career in style. Burying a pair of long-range three-point bombs Bertino scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and picked up three steals.

"It just hurts so bad now," Bertino said. "I know we have had an outstanding season and I should be proud of what we accomplished but it just hurts too much right now."

Seneca turned the ball over 23 times, 11 in the first half, as the Angels led 19-18. Seneca's 5-foot-4 junior Brooklyn Giertz scored all 11 of her points in the first half to keep the Lady Irish close.

Brown finished with13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Hernandez scored seven points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Angel junior guard Kiana Smith chipped in with six points.

The future is very bright for JCA coach Jim O'Brien and the Angels.

In 2020-21, the Angels will lose to graduation Bertino, Abigail Baily and Claire Dow.

The Angels will be led by what will be their super-soph Brown.The Angels will also return starters, Hernandez, Smith, and Emma Jay. Angel sixth-man Charlie Kinsella, Breanna Clemney and 6-foot-3 Sara Neville also will return.

"We made a great run but we should have won this game, tonight," Brown said. "From this point on, I will have a chip on my shoulder. We have almost everyone back next year and we want to go beyond this game, next season. This offseason is going to be special. We are all going to work and work, to get bigger, stronger and faster. I don't like to lose and this loss will be my motivation, from this point on."

"In the fourth quarter, we just couldn't get any rebounds," O'Brien said. "We did a great job of controlling Bromberek and Bruno in the first half. They just killed us in the fourth quarter. Give credit to Seneca. The future is very bright here at JCA. Mia, will be very difficult to replace but with Jazz, Jen, Emma and everyone else returning, we should be very good in 2020-2021."

On Thursday, Feb. 27, Hernandez and Jay will be heading down Redbird Area for The Country Financial Three-Point Showdown Prelims at ISU.


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