BELLAIRE - Marissa Rose didn't dent the scoreboard as much as she usually does Saturday. But she still came up big when it counted for St. John.
Rose hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to help the Irish pull away for a 51-47 triumph against visiting Paden City in high school girls' basketball action.
''We didn't play smart down the stretch, but we made the plays when we had to,'' St. John coach Bubba Kapral said.
With the game knotted at 44-44, Taylor Lowe hit a jumper at the 2:51 mark to give the Irish a lead at 46-44.
Cydney Blatt made 1 of 2 free throws to bring the Wildcats to within one at 46-45 and Kapral called time with 2:30 remaining.
St. John came out of the stoppage in slow-down mode. An inadvertent whistle stopped action momentarily. When the Irish inbounded the ball, Rose immediately drained a jumper that made the score 48-45 with 1:50 left.
Paden City's Hannah Stanley missed a jumper on the ensuing possession and a jump ball was called on the scramble for the rebound, with the Irish garnering possession.
St. John's Emily LeMasters was fouled, sending her to the line for a 1-and-1. She made the first, making the score 49-45, but missed the second. St. John grabbed the rebound, but turned the ball over moments later.
On the other end, Paden City sharpshooter Myah Charkawi was fouled with 1:11 left. She made both free throws making the score 49-47.
After the Irish again turned the ball over, Charkawi missed a jumper that would've tied the score. Rose grabbed the rebound, but was tied up and a jump ball was called with 36.6 seconds left.
Later, with 20.9 ticks remaining, Lowe missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the Wildcats grabbed the board.
Charkawi drove the lane, but her shot was blocked and the ball went out of bounds to St. John. The Irish got the ball in to Rose, who was fouled and made the game-clinching free throws.
''We were trying to Myah open,'' Paden City coach David Riggle said. ''She had a hot hand. We were trying to get her an open look, but a couple of things didn't go our way. But they could've easily went our way.''
Charkawi finished with a game-high 24, with 17 coming in the first half. She was limited to one field goal in the second.
''They did a box-and-one on her, which was a good opportunity for other girls for step up,'' Riggle said.
Hannah Stanley and Blatt both added eight for the Wildcats (3-3).
But the day belonged to the Irish, who only trailed once and led by as many 10 in the first quarter.
St. John (4-7) jumped out to an early 11-4 lead and did it behind five players - Rose, Lowe, LeMasters, Rachel Porter and Lindsey Froehlich.
''It was the best offensive balance we have had all year,'' Kapral noted.
Froehlich led the way with 15 points, with Rose finishing with 14.
Charkawi keyed an 8-0 run with five points as the Wildcats clawed to with 16-14 early in the second quarter. From there, Paden City stayed within striking distance the rest of the way.
''We beat a nice team in Paden City,'' Kapral said. ''We had them down early and they battled back.
''Charkawi is a big-time player.''