Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
By Gary R. Rasberry
Coldwater disposes of LCC in final minute of play
VAN WERT - Considering that they needed a coin flip just to see who got a higher seed, it looked like Coldwater and Lima Central Catholic would need another flip of the coin to see which team would come out ahead in their Division III sectional final game at Van Wert.
Coldwater overcame sluggish shooting and had trouble holding on to the ball but was still able to pull away in the final minute for a 40-29 win over the Thunderbirds at the Cougar Den on Monday. The game was postponed to Monday due to the icy weather on Saturday night.
The win moves the Cavaliers to 9-12 on the season and sends the Orange and Black to the Defiance district against 19-2 Swanton on Thursday at 8 p.m. The Thunderbirds, who beat the Cavaliers in a coin flip for the second seed at Van Wert, end their season at 13-8.
Things certainly started out sluggish for both teams. It was 8-4 Coldwater at the end of the first quarter and LCC cut the deficit to three points, 16-13, at the half. In the first 16 minutes of play, the teams combined to go 14-of-48 (29.2 percent) from the field and committed 17 turnovers.
"Definitely wasn't an offensive day," said Coldwater coach Nick Fisher. "I thought (LCC) did a nice job sitting in that 2-3 (zone). I thought we got a little complacent with the ball. We really worked against the 1-3-1 this week. We thought they would play a lot of 1-3-1, which they did. I thought we were on our heels offensively."
LCC, which lost to Coldwater 46-30 in the season opener, began to fight back in the third quarter. Kristen Gasperetti got three big points early to keep it close, while Jenny Lamoreau and Katie Baker also added buckets. Baker's three-pointer with 4:58 made it 22-21 with Coldwater nursing the one-point lead. Both teams turned it over on their next possessions, allowing Lauren Thomas to stick a T-Bird miss back in at the 3:41 mark to give LCC its first lead of the game at 23-22.
The T-Birds had a chance to add to the lead, but Danielle Taflinger missed a pair of free throws with 2:46 left in the quarter before Coldwater's Kara Uhlenhake squared the game up with just over two minutes left with a free throw of her own. After LCC turned it over, Brooke Gross nailed a jumper that put the Cavaliers back in front for good with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
For most of the fourth quarter, LCC stayed within shouting distance of the Cavaliers, never being more than five points behind in the first seven minutes of the final quarter.
With 1:29 to go, Elizabeth DePalma hit a free throw to cut the Cavalier lead to 30-28, but Kendra Robbins got a stickback to fall with 73 seconds left to make it a four-point game. LCC lost the ball out of bounds and the T-Birds were looking to foul on the inbounds, which at that point was a reasonable idea since Coldwater was 3-of-8 from the line at that point of the game.
Coldwater got the ball in and had to deal with some very physical pressure from LCC. When Robbins got the ball, she was fouled.
LCC coach Bill Taflinger strongly argued to the officials that there should have been fouls called before Robbins, the best Coldwater free-throw shooter, was fouled. For his argument, Taflinger was hit with a technical foul.
"I thought we had fouls on the girls we wanted to foul," explained Taflinger. "Unfortunately, we ended up fouling Robbins instead. That kind of broke our back when she made four free throws."
Robbins made both of her personal foul shots, then sank both technical foul shots to push the lead from 32-28 to 36-28. On the ensuring inbounds, Stucke was fouled and made her two foul shots. After a T-Bird missed basket, Gross got the rebound and was fouled. Gross made the final to free throws to complete the 8-for-8 run from the line at the end of the game.
"We made some big free throws down the stretch when we needed to," said Fisher. "Shows you how important free throws are."
The Cavaliers were paced by Robbins' double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds while Gross added 12 points.
DePalma led the T-Birds, who shot just 25 percent from the field (11-of-44) with 10 points.
"I thought we did a good job defensively," said Fisher. "Our man-to-man limited their penetration. They've go so many penetraters, we were worried about them getting into the middle of the floor. I thought our kids defensively did a nice job."
"I told the girls before the game they have to score in the 40s to beat these guys," said coach Taflinger. "We scored 30 against them the first time. Their defense is very good and are tough on our guards up top. It was hard to get into an offense and we didn't finish real well around the basket."
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