BELLAIRE - St. John had a welcome addition to its lineup Wednesday night and it proved to be the shot in the arm the Irish needed.
Lindsey Froehlich, who missed the last three games with an injury, returned to the floor with a game-best, 24-point effort to lead St. John to a 49-48 triumph in girls' prep basketball action.
''Ironically, Lindsey wasn't supposed to play,'' St. John coach Bubba Kapral said. ''She didn't practice (Tuesday) and was going to sit out one more game.
''She hit some big shots.''
Her two free throws with 12.3 seconds left gave the Irish the lead for good.
Following a Cameron timeout, Leah Stern inbounded the ball for the Dragons, who needed to go the length of the court to get a shot off. Stern threw it to Lexi Aston, who quickly passed the ball to Linda Hall. Hall immediately passed back to Aston along the left wing. Aston put up a shot, but it didn't fall.
''The shot was there,'' an emotional Cameron coach Roger Cain said. ''She'd been hitting that shot all night.
''We couldn't ask for a better shot. It was just a little short.''
Froehlich almost single-handily kept St. John (6-10) in the game early on.
Cameron (3-6) scored the first 12 points, boosted by a pair of 3-pointers from Aston. The Irish didn't dent the scoreboard until the 2:36 mark of the opening quarter when Froehlich dropped in a jumper.
Froehlich scored St. John's first eight points, the final three coming on a three-point play that brought the Irish to within seven at 15-8 early in the second quarter.
That three-point play sparked an 11-4 run to close the period, one which saw the two teams head to the locker rooms tied at 19-19 at halftime.
With the score tied at 21-21 early in the third, the Irish went on an 8-0 run, keyed by a layup from Emily LeMasters, a three-point play from Froehlich and a 3-pointer from Taylor Lowe.
Aston canned a 3 of her own to make the score 29-24 at the 3:27 mark, but Froehlich answered with four straight points to put the Irish up 33-24.
Froehlich scored on a layup early in the fourth that gave the Irish a 37-29 advantage. Marissa Rose, who assisted on the bucket, was pretty quiet until the final quarter. She scored all seven of her points during the final eight minutes.
In fact, Rose's basket gave St. John what looked like a commanding 39-31 lead before the Dragons went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 39-39.
''I really have to say good things about us for battling back,'' Cain said. ''This is one heck of a program. When you're able to stay with a team like this and play them well ... this program has been one of the top teams in the Ohio Valley for a long time. To be able to hang with them shows how resilient the girls are.''
Kapral was equally impressed with the Dragons.
''People told me they were quick,'' he said. ''They shot the ball very well. We had them by eight and they came right back.
''I have a lot of respect for them.''
Hall scored the first three points of the spurt before Stern had the next four. Aston, who paced the Dragons with 17 points, capped it with her fifth trey of the night.
Rose followed with a 3 of her own to give St. John a 42-39 lead with 3:35 left.
Cameron later grabbed the lead at 44-42 on a Rena Reid bucket. But Gabby Santinoceto responded with two free throws that knotted things at 44-44.
With 1:25 left, Santinoceto scored on a layup off an assist from Froehlich that made the score 46-44.