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Friday, November 30th, 2007

Cavaliers win defensive struggle with Panthers

By Mark Ruschau

Coldwater's Maria Wermert, 30, goes strong to the basket as Parkway's Hannah Har. . .

COLDWATER - The Coldwater Cavaliers used a stingy defense and just enough offense down the stretch to defeat the Parkway Panthers 34-32 Thursday night in the Midwest Athletic Conference opener for both teams at The Palace.  
Coldwater improves to 1-2 overall with the victory while Parkway drops to 1-2 with the loss.
Strong defense or struggling offenses, whichever view you want to take, were the story of this one.
Parkway hit on just 11-of-42 shots from the field, 11-of-17 from the free-throw line and the Panthers turned the ball over 22 times.
The Coldwater offense struggled as well, hitting on just 11-of-46 from the field, including 3-of-17 from three-point range, and 9-of-18 from the free-throw line while turning the ball over 22 times.
"We just did not run our offense all night long," said Parkway coach Krista Evans. "We did not lose the game on that last possession. Like I told the girls, who thought we lost the game on that last shot, we didn't, we did not run our offense all night long and that kind of bit us there at the end. We just physically did not run our offense, we did not set picks and down screen like we should and until we learn to continually pick and down screen, we are going to struggle offensively.
"We did play great defense all night," continued Evans. "We were really after it defensively and I was very proud of them."
Coldwater coach Nick Fisher gave credit to the Parkway defense as well for his team offensive struggles, and was happy with his own team's defensive effort.
"I give Parkway a lot of credit defensively tonight, they gave us trouble with their 2-3 zone. I thought we played a little tentatively and that helped to take us out of our offense," said Fisher. "Obviously we played defense down the stretch, I really did not like our offensive patience tonight, but we made some defensive plays and got a win."
Coldwater took the lead for good late in the third period, 25-24, as the Cavaliers converted two Parkway turnovers into a basket and free throw by Betsy Fisher. The Cavaliers built their lead to 28-24, just 1:57 into the final period on a basket by Fisher and a free throw by Ali Wenning.
Parkway cut the lead to one, 28-27 with 4:31 left on a pair of free throws by Hannah Harshman.
Coldwater rebuilt the lead to three, 30-27, with 3:52 left on a short jumper from Maria Wermert, but Parkway cut the deficit to one again at 30-29 on a steal and lay-in from Tara Luth as the clock showed 2:43 left.
After a Coldwater timeout with 1:55 left, the Cavaliers took their biggest lead of the night, 33-29, as Wermert hit her only three-point shot of the night from the right corner. Parkway quickly cut the deficit to one again as Luth hit a lay-in with 1:27 left and Jamie Guggenbiller hit one of two free throws with 1:06 on the clock.
The Panthers had two chances to take the lead but again they would come up with nothing as they missed two shots on one trip and tuned the ball over on the other possession.
Coldwater scored the last point of the game as Jessica Schmackers hit one of two free throws with 19 seconds left.
On Parkway's last trip, Melinda Miller missed from the wing with two seconds left with Schmackers grabbing the rebound to seal the Coldwater win.
Wermert led the way for Coldwater with a game-high 11 and Luth led the way for Parkway with 10 points.
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