|Lady Wildcats rally for NWC triumph|
|Friday, December 07, 2012 2:14 PM|
That was Lady Wildcat junior Makayla Binkley, who swished a 35-footer at the horn to end the third period Thursday night.
That started the ’Cats on their way to a rally that ended up in a 39-35 Northwest Conference triumph over the Lady Bulldogs at Columbus Grove High School.
Both teams had struggled against the other’s defense to that point and it continued afterward.
Grove (1-4, 0-1 NWC) led 22-19 to start the second half and built the game’s biggest margin — 30-21 — on a 3-ball from the right wing by junior Rachel Schumacher at 3:17. That was shortly after she and senior Renee Karhoff collided trying to get possession of a loose ball; Karhoff would not return. With foul trouble beginning to rear its ugly head for the Bulldogs — junior Sammi Stechschulte (8 counters, 7 caroms) and shooters in senior Breanne Halker and sophomore Hope Schroeder in particular on a team not known for its depth this winter — that was all they needed. The also depth-challenged Wildcats, without junior Brooke Hesseling to start the game, began to come back by getting to the free-throw line. Though they struggled overall — 13-of-27 (48%) versus 4-of-10 for the hosts (40%) — it was a problem for the hosts. When Binkley, returning to action from injury herself, took an inbounds pass on the right sideline and swished in the well-beyond-NBA shot as time expired, the guests were within 30-27.
The fourth period tightened up as neither team led by more than four. Every time Jefferson (3-1, 1-0) scored, Grove had an answer. That is, until 2:50. Junior Rileigh Stockwell (game-high 13 markers, 6 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks) made a tough shot inside the paint at 2:50 to give the guests their first lead since the second period. After Halker hit the second-of-2 free throws at 1:31 to get within 36-35, Binkley stepped up and canned a pair of tosses at 1:17 for a 3-point margin. The Bulldogs had five chances at the hoop in the final minute but could not convert. Stockwell hit the first-of-2 at 10.8 ticks to seal the deal.
Both coaches had turning points to the game in their respective mind.
“We went to a 2-3 one to start the second half. I felt our defensive effort was better,” Jefferson mentor Dave Hoffman explained. “We got to their 3-point shooters better and also did a better job on Schumacher inside; she didn’t score a point the second half. Plus, them getting in foul trouble helped us a lot.”
That and a mounting list of injuries is what concerns Grove coach Chad Ricker, who may get 6-0 junior Julia Wynn back from injury in a couple of weeks.
“We are not deep at all and we’re scrambling right now. We will have a lot of youngsters getting lots of varsity time,” Ricker noted. “We’ll keep working and trying to get up to speed but it’s hard to get into a rhythm with injuries and being so inexperienced to begin with.”
After a trade of the lead early in the second, Grove slowly built up a margin, twice leading by five markers. The second time was at 22-17 when Schumacher (9 points) canned a triple with 34 ticks on the clock. When Stockwell canned a short jumper with 4.1 ticks on the clock, the halftime score stood at 22-19.
Jefferson finished 12-of-34 from the floor (2-of-7 downtown) for 35.3 percent; with 26 caroms (5 offensive) as Goergens and Hannah Sensibaugh had five each; and 16 turnovers and 10 fouls. Brooke Culp added three steals and 6-1 Shelby Koenig four blocks. Jefferson entertains Kalida 1 p.m. (junior varsity start) Saturday.
“I don’t think it was rust to start the game for us as much as getting over being a little bit intimidated. We have a lot of youngsters (with no seniors) still getting their first varsity time, so we have to figure out what we can and cannot do coming out,” Hoffman added. “I liked our aggressiveness, going to the basket and getting them in foul trouble. We didn’t shoot free throws well but we are getting there and that’s a good sign. It’s been a while since we had a girl with size like Shelby who can not only block shots but intimidate others.”
Columbus Grove ended up 14-of-41 shooting (3-of-12 downtown) for 34.1 percent; grabbing 31 caroms (8 offensive) as Megan Verhoff and Sydney McCluer (3 dimes) added six each; and 19 miscues and 19 fouls. They visit Patrick Henry Tuesday.
“This was the third game in a row where we shot almost a third less free throws than our opponents. Again, I think that goes to youth and trying to scramble to put people in the right spots,” Ricker added. “One problem is our small guards; every opponent we face will have bigger guards and we struggle with that, not only shooting but handling the ball. We’ll give it the old college try and try to get ready for another good team in Patrick Henry.”
In JV action, Grove (2-2, 1-0) tossed a 12-0 shutout the first period en route to a 38-27 triumph.
Annie Schramm and Danielle Schramm each scored six for the victors. Bailey Gorman notched eight for the Wildcats (2-2, 0-1).