Wednesday, December 31st, 2008
By Gary R. Rasberry
St. Marys inches past Coldwater late
ST. MARYS - Overcoming 32 turnovers and losing key starter Erika Thornsberry to fouls for the last half of the fourth quarter, St. Marys got key baskets and free throws late to beat Coldwater 34-32 in the final game of the 2008 portion of the girls basketball schedule at McBroom Gymnasium.
The Roughriders won their second straight game and inch closer to .500 at 3-4 while the Cavaliers drop to 1-7.
Both teams put up some solid defense against the other as Coldwater committed 20 turnovers in the game and shot just 23.4 percent from the field.
"As far as defense, I thought we did a great job," said Coldwater coach Nick Fisher. "I told the kids it was just the little things, little lapses where people look for a three or give up four points at the end of the first half (allowing St. Marys to take a 19-18 lead at the half). That kills us."
St. Marys had trouble getting the ball to post players Thornsberry and Jo Steva thanks to a solid Coldwater defense. Steva had eight points while Thornsberry scored just five before fouling out with 3:16 remaining in the game.
When Thornsberry departed, Coldwater was up 28-25, then up 30-25 when Haley Stucke hit a bucket with 2:37 to go. The Roughriders got two points back as Carrie Schlater hit a pair of free throws with 2:14 left. After Coldwater went scoreless on two straight possessions, Rachel Wale launched a three-pointer from the top of the key and drilled it with 1:37 left to tie the game.
"In a low-scoring game like this, when you hit a three at a critical time, it's huge," said St. Marys coach Tim Niekamp of Wale's trey. "All of the sudden, the momentum went our way."
Coldwater had a chance to regain the lead, but Rachel Geier missed both free throws, however, Maria Wermert got the rebound and put it back in with 1:11 left to give the Cavaliers the lead.
St. Marys turned over the ball on the ensuing possession, but Coldwater was unable to take advantage. After Katie Burke missed a basket, Steva got the rebound and was fouled, sending her to the line with 32.4 seconds left and she made both tosses to tie the game.
Coldwater came down to try and break the tie, but a missed shot was rebounded by Burke, who was fouled. Burke missed the first, but nailed the second free throw with 23.3 seconds left to give the Roughriders the lead. Betsy Fisher tried a three-pointer on the next Cavalier possession, but the Roughriders got the rebound. Burke was fouled on an inbounds play and went to the line with 9.6 seconds left. Burke made the first but missed the second.
Coldwater got the ball in the hands of three-point specialist Marla Hess, who launched a shot from the top of the key, but the shot was in and out of the bucket and St. Marys got the rebound as time expired.
"I told them in a timeout in the fourth quarter that 'You're going to get some opportunities to win this game," said Niekamp. "I'm not sure they believed that at the time because things weren't going well. Their eyes light up a bit and, by gosh, the opportunities came.
"Coldwater did a great job defending us the entire game. Hat's off to them. They were just relentless."
"To be in these situations now helps you out later," said Fisher. "We got the shot we wanted, got an opportunity to win the game. That's what we wanted. In and out."
Wale was the only player in double figures on the night, scoring 10 for St. Marys.
Katie Lefeld paced the Cavaliers with eight points.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday. Coldwater returns to The Palace to face Ottawa-Glandorf while St. Marys heads down to Shelby County to face Lehman.
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Mostly cloudy, showers
Mostly cloudy, showers