By Bruce Monnin
DEFIANCE — The Coldwater Lady Cavaliers saw their Division III tournament run brought to a halt by the state’s sixth-ranked Archbold Blue Streaks with a 72-62 loss in district semifinal action at Defiance High School.
After falling behind by 24 points midway through the third quarter, Coldwater mounted a spirited comeback that was thwarted when Archbold hit 21 of their 22 second-half foul shots to preserve the victory.
“It’s tough to catch up with someone when they’re shooting free throws that well,” lamented Coldwater coach Nick Fisher. “And they’re to be commended for that.”
“That’s been real big for us this year,” added Archbold coach Scoop Miller. “I think our lowest person shoots 65 percent. We needed every one tonight. I don’t think 70 percent would have cut it for us.”
The game started out with the two teams combining for 14 fouls and 14 turnovers in the first quarter. Archbold put together a late 8-0 run to take a six-point lead, but Ashley Geier hit a late three pointer to trim the deficit to three, 14-11, at the end of the first period.
Archbold took better care of the ball in the second quarter, but Coldwater didn’t, turning the ball over seven more times.
“We’ve struggled throughout the year with turnovers,” commented Fisher.
After the Blue Streaks scored the first five points of the quarter, Amanda Harting stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer, but Archbold ran off another 9-0 streak to extend its lead still further. Coldwater could manage only another two free throws from Renee Hemmelgarn in the quarter, and went into the locker room down 31-16.
The outlook was bleak for the Cavaliers as Archbold opened the second half with a 12-3 run, dominating on the inside, inflicting the third and fourth fouls on Katie Homan and taking a 43-19 lead.
With Homan on the bench, Coldwater switched to a smaller lineup and began to claw its way back. Baskets by Alyssa Vogel, Hemmelgarn, Amber Heyne, Jessica Bettinger and Harting closed the gap to 49-36 after three quarters.
“Early on we were able to keep the ball out of Homan’s hands and really had her frustrated,” Miller said. “I thought that was huge. Once she got on track in the second half, we had no answer.”
Indeed, Homan returned to the lineup in the fourth quarter and scored 10 of the 26 points Coldwater scored in the period on the board. The Cavaliers brought the Archbold lead down to seven points late in the fourth quarter, but Archbold refused to let Coldwater any closer, hitting 17 consecutive free throws in the final stanza.
“The kids did a nice job of battling back,” concluded Fisher. “It was a bit too little too late.”
Archbold’s record rises to 22-1 on the season and Coldwater concludes their season with a 5-18 mark. ووو