|Elida girls hold off Blue Jays|
|Monday, November 26, 2012 2:39 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
BATH TOWNSHIP — Elida is a mostly-veteran girls basketball team that gave host Bath a scare before falling 44-38 in Friday night’s second game of the ninth annual Kewpee Tip-Off Classic held in The Bathtub, while St. John’s struggled shooting the ball before succumbing to New Knoxville 37-34 in the opener.
The shooting woes continued for the Lady Blue Jays in Saturday night’s consolation finals, helping the Lady Bulldogs to grab a 46-42 victory.
The Jays (0-2) shot 30 percent from the floor this night (13-of-43, 5-of-19 3-pointers), while Elida (1-1) shot 50 percent (18-of-36, 1-of-5 downtown).
“We’re battling confidence in shooting right now; we’re waiting too many times for someone else to make the shot,” Jays mentor Dan J. Grothouse noted. “We’re struggling figuring out when to shoot and how quickly. There are times we take good shots and can’t get them to go and other times we aren’t taking good shots or we hurry them. That is something we will continue to work on in practice and see if we can address this.”
Elida co-coach Chrissy Billiter pointed to a change in attitude for her team’s good start.
“We’re changing the culture. These girls were used to not having success and that was an attitude we changed from day 1; that will not remain here,” she explained. “You can see the confidence growing, even in our loss the night before. Like at the end, the girls want the ball in their hands to shoot free throws. It also helps having (senior) O’Sha (Owens) back from injury last year. She gives everyone else confidence, especially offensively, because she makes us go.”
Elida — playing primarily a half-court 2-3 zone and occasionally employing full-court pressure — came out much quicker in the opener, using simply better shooting (5-of-10 versus 1-of-7) in building an 11-2 edge with three minutes to go on a basket by junior Kylie Downton (7 boards). The Jays closed with a pair of free throws each from senior Katie Vorst (12 markers, 4 caroms, 3 steals) at 2:29 and junior Brooke Zuber (24.2 ticks) to reduce the deficit to 11-6.
The Blue and Gold — using their trademark man-to-man half-court “D” — continued the comeback in the second period and in a 1:40 span, the lead was traded three times, with the Jays taking their first lead at 18-17 on two tosses by Vorst at 3:14. She hit two more at 1:50 to give the Jays their biggest lead but, alas for them, the Lady ’Dawgs had the answer: a closing 7-0 spurt, capped by a putback-and-harm by junior Torie McAdams (9 points, 5 rebounds) with 31.6 seconds showing, to get a 24-20 halftime bulge.
St. John’s scored the first five points of the third period — a basket by Vorst and a trey by senior Emilie Fischbach (3 treys) — to give the Jays their final lead. A basket by junior Carly Stetler put the lead in Elida’s favor and it never left. With defenses basically controlling things, they attained garnered a 33-27 edge on a deuce from sophomore Sabrina Kline (8 counters, 5 caroms) but the Jays battled within 33-31 on a rare 4-point play — triple and free throw — by sophomore Tara Vorst (7 points) with 13.1 ticks on the board.
The Jays got within 35-34 on a putback by Katie Vorst at 4:45 of the fourth period by sophomore sub Brett Pauff popped off the Elida bench for a pair of crucial baskets in the next minute to put the Big Mo in their favor. The Jays were not done, though, and once more got within one — 43-42 — on a bomb by Fischbach with 27 ticks remaining. However, Downton hit 1-of-2 singles at 22.8 ticks and after a pair of misses at the other end, Kline hit two tosses at 10.5 seconds to seal the deal.
“We have moments where we play decently but right now, we’re not consistent. We are a work in progress, especially as our new varsity girls get used to the level of play,” Grothouse added. “Another area of concern is rebounding; we got beat there and gave up too many second shots. We have a long way to go and we’ll get back to work.”
Owens, returning from an injury-plagued 2011-12, led Elida with 11 markers and 4 dimes, while junior Ashley Lowry added 4 assists. They finish with 9-of-14 at the line (64.3%), 30 boards (8 offensive), 20 turnovers and 17 fouls. They host Columbus Grove 6 p.m. (junior varsity start) Thursday.
“I felt those two plays by Brett were the biggest plays for us. She gave us a big lift off the bench,” Elida co-coach Elise Jenkins added. “That’s the kind of team we want to put together; if someone is having an off-night, someone else will pick up the slack, whether it be a starter or a girl off the bench.”
St. John’s netted 11-of-15 at the line (73.3%), 24 caroms (12 offensive), 18 errors and 18 fouls. Senior Jessica Recker delivered four assists and sophomore Rebekah Fischer three thefts. They visit St. Marys Memorial 6 p.m. JV start Saturday.
In the finals, New Knoxville became the first team since other than St. John’s (3 titles) and Bath (5) to win the title, beating the host Wildkittens 48-40.