|Blue Jay girls survive vs. Panthers|
|Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:17 PM|
ROCKFORD – Statistically, the Parkway Lady Panthers dominated the game when they hosted St. John’s on Thursday night in Rockford. When the time expired in the fourth quarter, however, it was the Lady Blue Jays who came away with a 42-41 win.
“Big win for us. We needed a win like that,” St. John’s head coach Dan J. Grothouse said following a thrilling final period that saw two ties and six lead changes.
Throughout the night, it was the Blue Jay shooting that kept them in the game. With just 55 seconds remaining in the game and the Lady Jays trailing by two, senior Amanda Boberg found an opening on the perimeter of the Parkway 2-3 zone and let fly a shot that found nothing but the bottom of the net. It was her third triple of the night.
Though the Jays had taken the late 42-41 edge, Parkway would get two more chances to pull out the win. St. John’s survives a baseline jumper by Cami Hellwarth with 40 seconds to go and, after a Blue Jay turnover, the Lady Panthers turned to Hellwarth, their leading scorer, one more time.
With 16 second left, Hellwarth dribbled left and tested the Blue Jay defense, driving into the lane. Delphos swarmed the ball handler and senior guard Brooke Zuber, who went scoreless on the night, came away with a clean steal on a play that would ultimately decide the game.
“We hit a big shot there at the end to take the lead and then we were able to come down and make a huge play defensively and take care of the basketball late,” offered Grothouse, whose team improved to 2-2 (1-0 MAC) on the season.
Boberg’s late three came as little surprise as long-range shooting was a strength all night long for the Lady Jays. It was the ninth made triple of the game. Parkway made just one.
“They were doing a great job contesting shots inside and really packing it in and making it tough for (Sydney Fischbach) to get shots,” Grothouse added. “We knew we were going to have to square up our shooters and make shots. That was the only way we were going to win this game was to knock down some shots.”
While the Jays were excellent from distance, the Panthers (1-3, 0-1 MAC) punished St. John’s inside.
Senior center Sierra Fent drew the assignment of protecting the basket against Fischbach, who came into the contest as the leading scorer for the Lady Jays. Fent routinely turned away shot after shot by the Delphos sophomore, coming away with a season-high four blocks for Parkway. She also stepped up on the glass, pulling in 12 rebounds on the night including three on the offensive end.
Where Fent may have made the biggest difference, however, was at the offensive end - a place she hasn’t always asserted herself.
“It’s there,” Parkway head coach Lynn Hughes said of Fent’s performance underneath. “She needs to be an offensive threat for us. Anytime we got her the ball, they had a hard time stopping her.”
The Lady Jays tried fronting the post but Parkway’s Raegen Bransteter was able to lob passes over the defense and set up Fent for easy layins. Other times, Fent would step away and knock down mid-range jumpers from just off the paint. In total, Fent accounted for 15 for Parkway’s offensive total, doing so on 7-of-13 from the floor.
That effort was all the more important because of Hellwarth’s foul trouble - a problem that kept her on the bench for much of the second and third quarters. Bransteter joined Fent in double figures with 10. She added four rebounds, three assists and five steals.
In the second quarter, the Jays connected on three consecutive triples, taking a 16-12 lead after trailing 10-7 after one. Senior guard Emilie Fischbach drew the attention of the defense in the second half, when she connected on three of four shots, all of them from beyond the arc. She finished with 12 points to lead the St. John’s attack, with all of her scores coming from downtown.
St. John’s (42)
Zuber 0, Pohlman 0, Boberg 11, Geise 4, S. Fischbach 2, Vorst 0, Fischer 3, E. Fischbach 12, Saine 6, Hays 4.
Hellwarth 6, Gehron 2, Heckler 2, Bransteter 10, Fent 15, T. Walls 2, L. Heindel 4
Score by Quarters
St. John’s 7 12 10 13- 42
Parkway 10 10 8 13- 41
Three-point goals: St. John’s, E.Fischbach 4, Boberg 3, Fischer, Saine; Parkway, Bransteter.
St. John’s 15/33 shooting (45%), 16 rebounds, 12 turnovers, 11 team fouls
Parkway 18/39 shooting (46%), 21 rebounds, 17 turnovers, 12 team fouls
JV Score: DSJ 40, Parkway 18