|Lady Rockets close with PCL victory|
|Monday, February 17, 2014 12:00 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
PANDORA — Pandora-Gilboa built a 19-9 lead after one quarter of basketball Saturday afternoon and repelled every Columbus Grove challenge to send five seniors out with a 54-47 Putnam County League girls hardwood triumph at The Launching Pad of P-G High School.
One of those seniors, Megan Maag, led all scorers — and the Lady Rockets (14-8) — with 20 markers and another senior, Olivia Maag, added 13.
Guiding the Lady Bulldogs (13-9, 4-3 PCL) were senior Julia Wynn with nine and eight each by senior Rachel Schumacher and freshman Jade Clement.
“Pandora is a very, very good team. They struggled some early but they’ve run off a nice string of victories, something like nine,” Grove head man Brian Schroeder said. “They were one of the most talented teams coming into the season and one of the favorites in the PCL; they are starting to play like it. We had trouble handling their quick and athletic guards and they have some length to bother you defensively.”
Pandora coach Jessica Liedtke was happy to end on a winning note.
“We have the five seniors and it’s always nice to send them out on Senior Day with a win. It’s an exciting win for them,” Liedtke acknowledged. “We talked to the girls before the game about how this one was for the seniors and we had good focus from the start.”
The Bulldogs scored the first bucket — a drive by Jade Clement at 7:09 — and Anna Abelovska tied it at 6:49 on a baseline turnaround. Olivia Maag hit a 3-ball at 5:18, only to see Grove’s Rachel Schumacher and Sammi Stechschulte answer with baskets to take the lead at 4:34. Megan Maag hit two free throws and O. Maag a basket for a 9-6 edge and Schumacher tied it with a trifecta from the key at 2:45. When O. Maag (8 in the period) drained a trio from just left of the key at 2;15, P-G took the lead for good. That also jump-started a 10-0 closing binge, capped by a layin by M. Maag at 2.1 ticks, for a 19-9 edge,
Pandora extended that lead to 22-9 on another trifecta by O. Maag just 15 ticks into the second stanza but the Bulldogs — switching to a 2-3 zone from man-to-man — rallied within 22-18 on a 3 by Stechschulte at the 3:45 mark. However, they suffered another lengthy scoring drought — the rest of the period — and the hosts erected a 29-18 halftime bulge on the second-of-2 tosses by M. Maag with 13.9 ticks to go.
The Bulldogs, who shot 7-of-26 in the first half (18-of-46 overall, 3-of-13 3s, for 39.1%), needed to heat up to make a serious run in the third. They didn’t, though they shot 4-of-7. P-G — who finished 11-of-21 in the first 16 minutes (20-of-42 total, 4-of-9 downtown, for 47.6%) — answered with 5-of-12. Thus, the nearest the guests could get was eight points twice, the latter at 33-25 on a basket by Lynea Diller at 2:25. The Rockets ended the period with a 9-5 span, including a putback by Shea Watkins with 5.1 seconds showing, to secure a 42-30 edge entering the regular-season finale.
Try as they might, the Bulldogs simply could not make a serious inroads into their deficit until late in the fourth. Down 49-36 on a deuce by M. Maag at 2:40, the Bulldogs were forced to foul and thanks to 3-of-11 free-throw shooting by the Lady Rockets in the final 1:13 (10-of-21 total for 47.6%), the Scarlet and Gray got within 53-47 on a Schumacher basket with 12 ticks remaining but it was too little, too late.
Grove netted 8-of-11 charity tosses (73.7%); seized 27 boards (9 offensive) as Stechschulte had nine and Wynn four; 10 turnovers; and 19 infractions.
“They got off to that lead after the first period and we had to play catch-up the rest of the way,” Schroeder added. “For us, it came down to simply not being able to knock down shots. With a good scoring team like Pandora, you have to be scoring in the 50- to 60-point range to stay with them; we couldn’t shoot well enough to do that.”
Pandora-Gilboa secured 29 off the glass (9 offensive) as O. Maag and M. Maag had six each; and amassed 10 fouls and eight miscues. Vanessa McCullough delivered seven assists and Hunter Hermiller four (3 steals).
“We did a nice job defending them, especially on the perimeter,” Liedtke added. “Grove is a good team and outside of one span in the second quarter, we made things tough on them. We were very sound defensively and didn’t give them a lot of easy looks. We had a lot of nice looks offensively and shot well.”
In junior varsity action, the Lady Bulldogs eked out a 39-37 victory.
Pacing the Lady Bulldogs were Brooke Hoffman with 12 and 10 by Macy McCluer.
For the Lady Rockets, Lindsay Macke netted 12.
With the regular season now complete, both teams open Division IV tournament play Wednesday: Grove versus Coldwater at Wapakoneta and P-G at Ottawa-Glandorf versus Van Buren.
COLUMBUS GROVE (47)
Sydney McCluer 2-2-6, Kyrah Yinger 2-0-5, Jade Clement 3-2-8, Brooke Hoffman 2-0-4, Sammi Stechschulte 2-0-5, Rachel Schumacher 3-1-8, Julia Wynn 3-3-9, Lynea Diller 1-0-2. Totals 15-3-8/11-47.
Alexa Maag 0-0-0, Breana Hovest 0-0-0, Vanessa McCullough 0-0-0, Hunter Hermiller 2-0-5, Karissa Dorn 0-0-0, Olivia Maag 5-0-13, Megan Maag 7-6-20, Mackenzie Swary 1-0-2, Shea Watkins 2-4-8, Anna Abelovska 3-0-6. Totals 16-4-10/21-54.
Score By Quarters:
Col. Grove 9 9 12 17 - 47
Pan.-Gil. 19 10 13 12 - 54
Three-point goals: Columbus Grove, Yinger, Schumacher, Stechschulte; Pandora-Gilboa, O. Maag 3, Hermiller.
COLUMBUS GROVE (39)
Macy McCluer 3-2-10, McKenzie Bame 0-3-3, Grace Schroeder 0-0-0, Danielle Caudill 1-1-3, Brooke Hoffman 3-5-12, Mackenzie Wurth 0-0-0, Hallie Malsam 0-0-0, Lauren Roose 0-2-2, Becca Endicott 3-0-6, Mady Vorhees 1-0-3. Totals 7-4-13/23-39.
Alexa Maag 4-1-9, Kristen Mullins 1-0-2, Toria Hovest 2-0-6, Karissa Dorn 0-2-2, Sarah Beachboard 0-0-0, Brittany Hovest 0-0-0, Kelsey Basinger 2-0-4, Serena Maag 0-0-0, Lindsay Macke 5-2-12, Breana Hovest 0-0-0, Mackenzie Swary 0-0-0, Shea Watkins 1-0-2. Totals 13-2-5/12-37.
Score by Quarters:
Col. Grove 8 8 11 12 - 39
Pan.-Gil. 9 7 10 11 - 37
Three-point goals: Columbus Grove, McCluer 2, Vorhees, Hoffman; Pandora-Gilboa, T. Hovest 2.