By Robb Hemmelgarn
ST. MARYS -- If you take a look at last night's box score of the Coldwater-St. Marys girls basketball game, the most glaring statistic is the distinct edge the Cavaliers held at the free throw line.
As they connected on 14-of-19 attempts from the charity stripe, St. Marys was able to knock down just 17 of their 35 tries.
While the contest at McBroom Gymnasium was most certainly decided at the charity stripe, it ironically wasn't Coldwater who finished on the winning side of the scoreboard.
St. Marys held the Cavaliers at bay the entire second half, en route to their 48-42 victory.
"Coldwater is a quality opponent, and this win is very big for us at this point in the season," remarked St. Marys coach Brown. "We knew they would be very physical in the perimeter, so our goal tonight was to really go at them offensively. I probably should have taken into consideration the fact that we aren't real good free throw shooters," added Brown, with a laugh.
The opening stanza teetered back and forth, with neither team gaining much wind in their sails in the first six minutes. A 6-0 run, sparked by four points from the Roughriders‰ Stephanie Platt, gave the home team the 15-9 advantage going into the second period. The second quarter was anything but an offensive clinic, as both teams combined for just 12 points. Coldwater was able to climb back into the thick of things, outscoring the 'Riders 9-3 before both teams took to the locker room tied at 18 points. The Roughriders, who closed the half just one for 10 from the free throw line, were led by Platt's nine points and four rebounds. Coldwater placed seven different players in the scoring column.
"I thought in the beginning of the game, we needed to toughen up a little on defense, especially against (Kerri) Imwalle," commented Cavalier Head Coach Nick Fisher. "We were able to do a little better in the middle. I felt all evening we played solid defense, it was just tough to get our shots to fall on the other end of the floor."
St. Marys took advantage of two Coldwater starters on the bench in foul trouble much of the third quarter, and they built their advantage to nine points at 32-23. Brittany Howell added five of her points in the stanza, as the Cavaliers were limited to just one field goal and a trio of free throws in the eight-minute frame.
"I give St. Marys a lot of credit -- they mixed up their defenses well and kept us on our heels (Continued from page 1B)
most of the game," said Fisher.
The Roughriders began the fourth period with a bucket from Platt, who also drew the foul. Her missed free throw added to the dismal performance for St. Marys at the line, but her team still held an 11-point lead. The majority of the remainder of the game was played from the free throw line. The Cavaliers pulled to within three points with just under 3:00 to play, despite only three field goals in the second half to that point. Toya Anderson and Brittany Howell, who combined for only two of twelve free throws in the first three and a half quarters, closed the game by combining for 12 of 12 from the charity stripe, preserving the win for the Blue and Gold, 48-42.
"We didn't do a great job at the line tonight, but I was real pleased with how we were able to gain confidence in the end and hit some big shots," said Brown. "Hopefully that confidence can build and it can help us out somewhere down the road."
For St. Marys, Anderson and Platt each contributed 13 points, with Platt adding nine rebounds. Senior Leah Wenning was the lone Cavalier in double-digits, as she picked up 12 points. Sophomore Kendra Robbins added eight points and a team-high six rebounds.
With the win, St. Marys improves to 5-7 on the season and will host the Kenton Wildcats tomorrow. Coldwater falls to 8-5 on the campaign and will travel to St. Henry tomorrow to face the Redskins in a Midwest Athletic Conference match up.
The junior varsity contest was also won by St. Marys, 45-37.