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Friday, January 04, 2013 1:57 PM

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MIDDLE POINT - Those in attendance at Lincolnview High School Thursday evening to watch the Lady Lancers take on cross-county foe Van Wert got their money’s worth - and then some - before four clutch free throws helped Van Wert escape with a 47-45 win.
“It’s a great win for us. (Lincolnview) is a really good team. They’ve been playing really well. We were a little bit worried about the way they get up and down the floor and the way they pass the ball,” explained Van Wert coach Lance Moonshower.

After trailing much of the second half, including a deficit as large as 10, Lincolnview clawed its way back in the contest late.

A layup from senior post Kaitlyn Brant tied the game at 43 with 55 seconds to play in the game. Then things got interesting.

On the ensuing Van Wert possession, the ball got knocked loose and several members of each team scuffled for the ball. Van Wert was awarded a timeout and the ball but Lady Lancer sophomore guard Julia Thatcher had a tooth knocked out and had to exit the game.
After a 10-minute delay due to the injury, senior Lincolnview guard Katie Dye picked up a steal and was fouled with 19.1 seconds to play. Dye made both free throws to give the Lady Lancers a 45-43 lead.

Van Wert’s Erin Morrow was fouled with 10 seconds to play on the other end and hit both of her free throws to tie the game at 45. Shortly after the Lincolnview in-bounds play, sophomore guard Alexa Dunlap got a steal which resulted in sophomore forward Alexis Dowdy being fouled with 3.1 seconds to play. Dowdy made both free throws and the Lady Cougars held on the final three seconds for a 47-45 win.
“Those are pressure free throws,” Moonshower said of the four made by Morrow and Dowdy in the final 10 seconds. “Two to get us back in the game and two to win the game.”

Lincolnview took a 15-10 lead after a quarter of play, thanks to 7-of-14 shooting and five points from senior guard Claire Dye.

The difference in the game might have been the middle two quarters, where the Van Wert offense was good but the defense was better, holding Lincolnview to 1-of-10 shooting in the second quarter and 1-of-6 shooting in the third.

“The shots that we did get early in the game, we couldn’t connect,” said Lincolnview coach Dan Williamson.

Despite shooting 10 percent in the second quarter, the Lady Lancers held a 23-20 lead at the break. When the slump continued into the second half, however, Van Wert took their lead.

“We didn’t play well in the first half and we were fortunate to have a 3-point lead going into halftime,” explained Williamson. “They were killing us on the offensive boards. I think they ended up with 11. It’s tough to win when you give up that many second chances.”

Van Wert got 10 points from Dunlap alone in the third - to Lincolnview’s six collectively - and ran its advantage to 34-24 in the stanza before their lead dwindled to 36-29 by the start of the fourth.

“She’s probably been our most consistent player,” described Moonshower of Dunlap, who had 15 points and three steals on the night. “Game-in, game-out, she’s very solid. Tonight she really stepped up defensively - used her athleticism. She’s probably the fastest girl on the court and really used that to her advantage.”

The Lincolnview offense awakened in the fourth, shooting 5-of-9 from the field. Down 43-35 halfway through the fourth, Katie Dye hit a jump shot and converted a layup to shrink the Van Wert lead to four.

After two Brant layups, the game was tied at 43.

“We didn’t change anything we were dong offensively (going into the fourth),” said Williamson. “We started attacking the basket a little bit more. ... Our defensive picked up as well, which is a key for us.”

Unfortunately for the Lady Lancers, Van Wert went 3-of-6 in the final frame to escape with the win.
“I told (the girls) on the bench when we were down two and we were tied, ‘this is why you play basketball - this is why you play sports. To be in situations like this.’ And it’s nice to see girls who are pretty young and inexperienced step up,” said Moonshower.

Despite the loss, the comeback wasn’t lost on Williamson: “I’ve got to give our girls a lot of credit. Being down, we battled back and got the lead. We had a chance to get a shot at the end and they just made a nice defensive play. That’s how it goes sometimes.

The stats, like the score, were relatively close. The Lady Lancers outshot the Cougars 37.5 percent (15-of-40) to 36 percent (16-of-45). The Lady Lancers went 13-of-16 from the line to 14-of-19 for Van Wert.

Van Wert, however, pulled down 30 rebounds to Lincolview’s 16 - despite turning the ball over 20 times to Lincolnview’s 18.
The win improves Van Wert to 4-6 on the season and marks the second in a row for the team.

“We needed something to get our momentum going in the right direction and I think the last two wins show the girls that we can win, we can play basketball. We just need to go out there and do what we need to do,” added Moonshower.
Van Wert was led by Morrow’s 16 points and Dowdy added 14.

The Lady Lancers were led by Katie Dye, who notched 16 points. Julia Thatcher and Claire Dye each added 10.
The loss drops Lincolnview to 8-3 on the season.
“We wanted to be 9-2 after this game but 8-3 isn’t bad. We’ve just got to bounce back from this and not let it drag us down,” concluded Williamson.

VAN WERT (2pt. 3pt. FT Pts.)
Hall 0-2 0-0 0-2 0, Hulbert 0-2 0-2 0-0 0, Moonshower 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Dunlap 5-12 0-0 5-6 15, C. Butler 1-3 0-0 0-0 2, Morrow 5-6 1-3 3-4 16, Dowdy 4-13 0-0 6-7 14, Weigle 0-1 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-40 1-5 14-19 47.
K. Thatcher 0-5 0-0 3-5 3, C. Dye 2-5 2-2 0-0 10, K. Dye 5-12 0-0 6-6 16, J. Thatcher 3-6 0-1 4-5 10, McCleery 0-2 0-0 0-0 0, Brant 3-6 0-0 0-0 6. Totals 13-36 2-3 13-16 45.
Score by Quarters:
Van Wert           10   10   16    11 - 47
Lincolnview     15    8     6    16 - 45


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