|Lady ’Dawgs hold off Grove in OT|
|Friday, November 30, 2012 1:41 PM|
It came down to the free-throw line in overtime, where the host Lady ’Dawgs sank 7-of-8 in sealing a 58-54 victory.
“We put in a lot of time at the free-throw line in practice; you figure you’re going to be in a lot of close games and the line wins and losses a lot of them,” Elida co-coach Elise Jenkins explained. “It’s not just one or two girls, either; a number of girls hit big free throws. Of course, Kylie (Downton) gets a big offensive rebound to send us to overtime. Again, if someone has an off-night — or a couple — someone is there to pick up the slack. That is what we want to instill in this program.”
Tied at 46-46 to start the 4-minute overtime — courtesy of a last-second putback by the junior Downton in regulation — the Bulldogs (1-2) drew first blood on a basket off the tip by junior Megan Verhoff at 3:53 and two free throws by senior Breanne Halker (10 markers, 7-of-8 at the line; 3 dimes) at 2:52. Back came the ’Dawgs (2-1). Senior O’sha Owens (12 markers, 3 assists, 4 steals) hit a baseline jumper at 2:35 and two singles by Downton (10 markers, 5 boards, 4 thefts) at 2:07 knotted the score.
A single by Verhoff at 1:56 gave the visitors their last lead. A bomb from the left wing by Owens at 1:38 gave the hosts the lead for good. A toss by Halker at 1:23 got them within one but then Elida hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final 41.9 ticks — two by sophomore Sabrina Kline (team-high 17 markers, 3 bombs; 5 caroms), 1-of-2 by Owens and two by 5-11 junior Carly Stetler (7 rebounds) at 11.2 ticks to seal the deal. The only points the visitors could manage were on a drive by junior Rachel Schumacher at the 30-second mark.
“The girls and I are crushed but this is also a great learning experience for us. We have three letterwinners back from last year and we are so young,” Grove coach Chad Ricker said. “Elida seems to have turned a corner already and it would have been a nice feather in our caps to get this one on the road tonight. Still, for us, it wasn’t a league game. It’s why we scheduled these guys and Lima Senior in the opener to toughen us for the PCL and NWC races and we have improved so much from the first half of our opener.”
The visitors canned 18-of-54 shots (33.3%), including 5-of-24 downtown, to 18-of-52 for the hosts (34.6%), including 4-of-16 long range.
“We tried a number of different defenses throughout the game: 2-3 zone, man, full-court pressure, even a box-and-1 late on (Sydney) McCluer; she was hurting us quite a bit over the course of the game,” Jenkins added. “Right now, we can’t be a 32-minute full-court pressure team; we don’t want to be giving up a lot of layups. Offensively, we’re a lot better running an offense. Coming in, it was more of ‘get me the ball so I can make a move’ attitude; we’re teaching more patience now, that they have to trust the offense. It’s a process.”
Both teams had eight miscues in the second period but fouls began to mount, making things more difficult to get into an offensive flow. In this case, that seemed to benefit the home team as they got to the line more consistently overall (18-of-28 for the night for 64.3% to 13-of-18 for the guests for 72.2%). They held the largest lead of the night — showing how close this matchup really was — at 22-17 on a left-elbow jumper by junior Torie McAdams (11 markers, 9 caroms) at 1:55. Senior Renee Karhoff — who helped offset the loss of 6-1 junior Julia Wynn, who was out with an ankle injury, against the taller Bulldogs with 15 boards and six boards before fouling out in the fourth period — laid one in off the glass at 39 ticks but McAdams laid in a lob from Stetler at the 20-tick mark to make it 24-19 at the half.
“We started off well but then the second period hit and the fouls started to come and we lost our rhythm,” Ricker added. “Basically, I had four guards with two fouls and I was just hoping to get to halftime; we were only down five. It was better the second half. I like the shots we were getting; we just didn’t get them to fall. We tried to give our fans a good show and overall, I felt we did. We’ll keep getting better, too.”
The fourth was the same: the largest lead was four and there were four lead exchanges and three ties. Grove battled back to take a 46-44 edge on two free trows by Halker with 11.8 seconds remaining in regulation. After calling timeout, Elida went the length of the court and got the ball to Stetler for a trey but she missed; however, the 5-5 Downton got the carom and laid it in off the glass, not giving the Bulldogs enough time to call timeout before the buzzer went off.
Both teams secured 38 rebounds (15-13 offensive in favor of Elida) and Grove had 23 miscues and 24 fouls to 21 and 19 for Elida.
Both teams return to action Tuesday with junior varsity tips at 6 p.m.: Elida hosts Spencerville and Grove commences PCL action at Continental.
Sophomore Becca Endicott led the visitors with eight, while sophomore Yea Lee Kim and freshman Skylar Hurst had four each for Elida.