St. Francis started strong and finished gritty in upsetting visiting Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco 46-38 in a girls nonleague basketball game late this afternoon.
The Troubadours (12-8) jumped to a 22-9 first-quarter lead, making 9 of 13 shots and not committing a turnover while forcing the Fightin' Irish (15-4) into 10 missed shots and four turnovers.
Then it was time for the St. Francis faithful to grab the rail and ride the Troubadours' frantic rollar-coaster performance the rest of the way against a team ranked No. 11 in Northern California by NorCalPreps.com.
St. Francis shot only 18 percent in the final three quarters (6 of 34) and SHC twice cut the Troubadours' lead to two points, 34-32, late in the third quarter and 38-36 midway in the fourth quarter.
But the Troubadours continued to play strong defense - Sacred Heart shot 33 percent for the game and made 20 turnovers - and finished well at the foul line, making eight of 12 free throws in the game's final three minutes.
Versatile junior Najah Queenland topped all scorers with 17 points and played with passion and poise while also defending, rebounding and leading.
Tenacious senior forward Marisa Boras added 11 points and was four of six from the foul line in the final 90 seconds. Senior post Elizabeth Mannering had seven points (3 of 4 from the field) before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a leg injury after colliding with a SHC player.
Cassandra Friedrich and Asley Gainer led Sacred Heart Cathedral with eight points each.
The Fightin' Irish had beaten West Catholic Athletic League rival and defending CIF D-II state champion Archbishop Mitty of San Jose on Jan. 19. St. Francis lost 55-45 to Mitty at home on Dec. 29.
St. Francis, ranked No. 9 by The Bee, returns to Delta River League play, where it is 3-2, on Tuesday by hosting Ponderosa. The Troubadours play at Sheldon Thursday.