Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
Flyers, Redskins advance to title game
28th Annual OVISCO Classic
By Ryan Hines
Marion Local's Allie Thobe shoots between a pair of Coldwater defenders during F. . .
CELINA - Marion Local and St. Henry will play in Monday's championship game of the 28th annual OVISCO Classic after defeating a pair of Mercer County rivals during Friday's semifinals at Celina's Fieldhouse.
The Flyers broke open a tight game with a strong run to start the third quarter en route to a 52-37 victory over the Cavaliers in the first game of the night.
The Redskins then rallied from a seven-point deficit in the second half and edged the Bulldogs 43-40 in the nightcap.
Marion Local (1-0) and St. Henry (1-0) will face off in Monday's championship game, 20 minutes after Celina (0-1) and Coldwater (0-1) play in the consolation matchup at 6 p.m.
MARION LOCAL 52, COLDWATER 37
Leading by only two points at halftime, Marion Local opened the second half with a flourish.
The Flyers' fullcourt pressure defense forced three straight Cavalier turnovers to open the third quarter and Marion Local went on an 8-0 run to push its lead to 26-16.
"We lost our composure to start the second half and never regained it," said Coldwater head coach Nick Fisher. "We had a few turnovers in a row to start the third quarter and they turned them into baskets to push their lead to double figures. That was the key to the game right there in my opinion."
"I thought that we had to pressure their guards. We ended up getting a few steals off our press and then scored on the other end to extend our lead. I thought that was huge for us," said Marion Local head coach Treva Fortkamp.
Marion Local senior Brooke Winner scored all eight of the points during the spurt and finished with a game-high 18.
"Brooke Winner showed her senior leadership and just started taking the ball to the hole when we needed it," said Fortkamp. "She has to step it up for us this year and she did that tonight."
Winner had just two points in the first half while struggling with foul trouble.
"She got into foul trouble in the first half but she's the type of player where you know she is going to come back and play well when she gets back in," said Fisher.
Hannah Bruns and Sarah Kanney had back-to-back baskets for Coldwater to open the fourth quarter to trim Marion Local's lead to 35-29 but the Flyers responded with a 10-2 run to extend their advantage to 45-31 with just 2:57 remaining in the game. Lexi Wilker and Winner each had four points to ignite the Flyers' game-clinching spurt.
Despite the 15-point victory, Marion Local trailed the entire first quarter. Bruns scored 10 points, all in the paint, to give the Cavaliers a 14-11 lead after the first eight minutes of play. Bruns scored only two points in the final three quarters and led the Cavaliers with 12 points.
"I thought we had to front Bruns on defense after her quick start to slow her down and I thought we did a better job defending her after the first quarter," said Fortkamp. "We wanted to try and make someone else beat us."
In addition to Winner's 18 points, Allie Thobe and Cadence Jacobs contributed 11 points apiece for the Flyers.
ST. HENRY 43, CELINA 40
Celina looked well on its way to opening the season with a victory as the Bulldogs held a seven-point lead at 36-29 with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter.
However, St. Henry closed the third quarter with a 9-1 spurt to tie the score at 38-38 entering the fourth quarter. Ellie Stammen had four points to spark the Redskins' run.
Celina quickly regained the lead at 40-38 with 7:28 remaining in the game after two free throws by Trish Dennis but the Bulldogs then went into an offensive drought. The Bulldogs didn't score again the rest of the game and shot 0-of-8 from the field in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we were getting a little tired in the fourth quarter to be honest," said Celina head coach Toma Hainline. "We weren't moving in our offense with quick cuts anymore and I think it was because we had tired legs."
"I thought we played pretty well defensively, especially in the fourth quarter. We cut off Celina's penetration and did a good job on the boards to limit them to one shot," said St. Henry head coach Kurt Huelsman. "We helped each other, closed out with a hand in their face and didn't give them many good looks at the basket."
St. Henry's offense wasn't exactly lighting up the scoreboard either hitting just 1-of-8 shots in the final eight minutes of action but the Redskins added three free throws to escape with the win.
Stammen hit one-of-two from the charity stripe at the 7:20 mark of the fourth quarter to cut the Redskins' deficit to one point before cashing in on two free throws 42 seconds later to give St. Henry a 41-40 advantage. It was St. Henry's first lead of the game since a holding a 21-19 advantage at the 3:11 mark of the second quarter.
Megan Post then pushed St. Henry's lead to 43-40 on a short jumper with 1:38 on the clock.
Heather Heiby had a chance to cut into St. Henry's lead but missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the free-throw line with 38.4 seconds remaining in the game.
The Bulldogs then forced a turnover with 15 seconds on the clock and had a chance to tie the score in the final seconds. Celina's Kelly Stahl set a solid screen for Heiby at the top of the three-point line with five seconds on the clock and Heiby attempted a deep three-pointer but the ball hit the backboard and bounced off the front of the rim. St. Henry then corralled the rebound to seal the win.
"Kelly set a nice screen and Heather got a good look at the basket on that final shot, it just didn't fall for us," said Hainline.
Heiby was the lone offensive spark in Celina's offense, which shot just 13-of-44 in the game (30 percent), as the sophomore point guard scored 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting. No other Bulldog had more than six points.
Ally Mikesell paced St. Henry with a game-high 15 points while Stammen added 10 to go with nine points from Olivia Stahl.
"I think we got some solid contributions from several girls tonight and that's what we have to have to be successful," said Huelsman. "It feels great to open the season with a win against a quality opponent like Celina."