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Friday, February 8th, 2008

New Bremen hits its stride in final quarter

By Gary R. Rasberry

New Bremen's Melissa Bruggeman, 20, defends Coldwater's Ali Wenning, 23, during. . .

NEW BREMEN - Going into the fourth quarter, Coldwater had a bit of momentum on its side as the Cavaliers used solid rebounding and a number of New Bremen turnovers to force a 34-all tie after three quarters.
But, as has been the case several times this season, the one rough quarter came at the wrong time.  
Coldwater did not make a field goal in the final eight minutes, allowing the Cardinals to pull away and end the regular season with a 45-37 win at Cardinal Gymnasium.    
New Bremen heads into sectional play at 14-6 overall and 5-4 in the Midwest Athletic Conference while Coldwater drops to 3-17 on the season and 1-8 in league play.
The first three quarters saw Coldwater give the Cardinals all they could handle. The Cavaliers had trouble shooting the ball all evening, making just 10-of-48 from the field, but dominated on the boards, especially the offensive boards. In the first half, 10 of the Cavaliers' 17 rebounds came on the offensive glass.
"We weren't shooting the ball really well, but in the first half, Kara (Uhlenhake) had five offensive rebounds," said Coldwater coach Nick Fisher. "Those are the opportunities we need, the second and third opportunities."
The Cardinals had trouble holding on to the ball as Coldwater hung within striking distance. New Bremen committed 12 of their 21 turnovers in the first half.
"They had one more rebound (in the first half), but nine (more) offensive. They really hurt us," said New Bremen coach Dave McFeeley. "We talked about that at halftime. We've been averaging 11 turnovers a game and had 12 at halftime. We have to play better than that."
"I was kind of surprised how well some of our presses and defensive work forced some turnovers," said Fisher.
In the third quarter, Coldwater tied New Bremen four times, with Kara Uhlenhake squaring the game at 34-all with just under 38 seconds left with a bucket. Uhlenhake missed the free throw that would have put Coldwater up.
The Cardinals drew first blood in the fourth quarter as Michelle Griesdorn scored 47 seconds into the final stanza to make it 36-34. Uhlenhake, coming off a 24-point game in Tuesday's win over Botkins, cut Coldwater's deficit to 36-35 with a free throw. New Bremen made it a three-point game as Taylor Jones nailed a layup.
Coldwater went nearly 3 1/2 minutes without scoring and New Bremen's Stacy Timmerman went to the bucket and was fouled on the make, raising the lead to 41-35 with 2:58 left on the old-school three-point play.
"The big key was, they got into foul trouble," said McFeeley. "(Kelley) Lefeld got in foul trouble. We're not big in the post. Jaclyn Dabbelt did a nice job on her, but she ended up with four fouls too."
Coldwater finally ended the scoring drought with 1:53 left in the game when Ali Wenning hit a pair of free throws. New Bremen put the icing on the cake when Jaclyn Dabbelt scored and was fouled to make it 44-37. A Griesdorn free throw with 45 seconds left wrapped up the scoring.
"I'm proud of the kids' effort," said Fisher. "I still think we're improving."
"They're a very good team," said McFeeley of Coldwater. "They've just had bad luck through the season. Every time we've seen them play, they've played 3 1/2 quarters really well, then they just kind of slip.
"Our kids stepped up in the fourth quarter, took control of the game and did the things they needed to do," continued McFeeley, whose squad shot over 50 percent from the field in the game. "We were fortunate to come out with the win, but we deserved it to."
Jones and Timmerman each had 11 to pace the Cardinals.
Uhlenhake finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead Coldwater while Kelley Lefeld added nine points.
Coldwater starts its sectional play on Tuesday, traveling to Van Wert to face Parkway in the Division III sectional. New Bremen, the second seed at the Division IV Wapakoneta sectional, plays the second game on Wednesday against Perry.
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