After rallying from a 14-point first half deficit to take a double-digit lead late in the third quarter, Darien made only one field goal in the fourth quarter and suffered a 43-36 defeat to the Cadets.
With 14 seconds remaining, and Darien trailing 39-36, the Blue Wave went for a quick two-pointer with sophomore forward Katie Fiore driving into the lane. Unfortunately for Firoe, Cadet forward Jackie Jozefick stepped in and blocked her shot.
Believing a foul should have been called, Lauten was furious on the bench and consequently received a technical foul at the 8.4-second mark.
Jozefick and Bridget Sharnick, who scored a game-high 19 points, then each hit two free throws to close the game.
"I thought we played tough," Lauten said. "We went hard to the basket. Unfortunately, a couple things didn't go our way. It's a tough loss to swallow."
The Blue Wave (7-8, 6-7) dropped their second straight following a six-game winning streak and
missed another chance to clinch a state tournament berth. Their next opportunity will come on Friday, when Darien hosts Staples at 7 p.m.
St. Joseph (8-7, 6-7) finished 12-of-17 from the line while Darien was just 7-of-10. Sharnick also hit a pair with 17.9 seconds left to make it 39-36.
"I think we got into foul trouble and they were good foul shooters," said Emily Stein, who scored 10 of her team-best 14 points in the second quarter. "They got into the one-and-one pretty quickly in the first and second half, so that hurt us."
A Sharnick three-pointer staked the Cadets to a 20-6 lead with 6:48 left in the first half, but Stein got hot and almost single-handedly pulled the Blue Wave within 21-20 at the break.
Over that closing stretch, St. Joseph managed to tally only one point and just two during the first 5:25 of the third quarter.
Darien appeared to be pulling away when Stein's two free throws pushed the lead to 33-23 with 2:35 to go, but the Blue Wave missed their first nine field goals of the fourth quarter.
"We had a hard time hitting some shots," Stein added. "Calls really didn't go our way, but that's for both teams. You can't really blame it on that. They were really good on defense. They were shutting down Kelly (Karczewski) and I."
St. Joseph regained the lead at 35-34 on Anna DeCarmo's layup with 3:01 remaining. Then, the Cadets missed two chances to extend the lead.
The Blue Wave finally scored from the field with 1:21 left in the game, thanks to a gem of a defensive play by Karczewski, who intercepted a pass at mid-court before streaking in for a layup.
However, after a St. Joseph miss and Darien turnover, Maite Gritsko banked in a jumper from the right baseline with 39 seconds left to put the Cadets ahead for good.
Katie Richter added 11 points, and Karczewski chipped in with six for the Blue Wave.
For St. Joseph, Jozefick and Gritsko each finished with six points.
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