By: Daniel Cooley
DEFIANCE – The final two Buckeye Border Conference girls basketball teams saw their seasons come to an end in the district semifinals at Defiance High School.
In the opener, Stryker fell in a close one to Ayersville, 39-34 and in the nightcap, top seeded Convoy Crestview topped surprising Pettisville, 56-36. Pettisville had reached the district semis by topping BBC co-champion Hilltop in the sectional finals.
The opening contest featured 10 lead changes before Ayersville outscored Stryker 9-5 in the final two minutes.
Ultimately, what won the game for Ayersville was its defense, which held Sage Woolace, Stryker’s leading scorer, to less than 10 points.
“We employed a new defense in practice this week, a 1-1-3 defense and then whenever Sage caught the ball, we double teamed her and made her give up the ball,” said Ayersville coach Tim Nicely.
“That part worked, as we held Sage to just seven points. Give Stryker credit, some of their other girls stepped up.”
“For us, we had trouble scoring, but Kendra Waldron had her best game ever for us, with 10 points. Overall, we had eight different girls score for us, which I’m happy about.”
Ayersville (18-6) will face Crestview (20-4) for the district championship on Saturday IN Defiance, at 6 p.m.
Stryker, thanks to two three pointers from Lexi Wickerham, jumped out to a 7-4 lead after one quarter.
With Stryker clinging to an 11-9 lead in the second period, Waldron hit a trey to put Ayersville up 12-11. With Stryker up by one on after another Wickerham basket, Neva Sheets’ three pointer put Ayersville up, 15-13.
Woolace made two free throws to tie the game at 15-15, but Zamira Young’s free throw put Ayersville up at the half 16-15.
The two teams traded the lead four times in the third, before Wickerham’s third trey tied the game at 24-24. But Kiersten Manon’s bucket put Ayersville up, 26-24, after three periods.
After two more lead changes in the fourth period and with Ayersville leading, 30-29, Waldron’s trey put Ayesville up, 33-29.
Woolace made one of two free throws to cut Ayersville’s lead to 33-30, with two minutes left. However, a Waldron free throw and two more free throws from Sheets put Ayersville up, 36-30.
After Gabby Ramon’s free throw cut the Lady Pilot’s lead to 36-31, two more Sheets charity tosses put Ayersville up 38-31.
Emma Fulk knocked down a three-pointer with 14 seconds left to bring the score to 38-34.
However, McGuire’s free throw brought the final score to 39-34. Wickerham led Stryker (17-7) with 13 points.
“This game was a challenge with Ayersville’s length and Sage is not used to being double and triple teamed,” said Stryker coach Conner Varner.
“But she still took the ball to the basket. As a team, we executed our game plan. But it just didn’t work out for us.”
STRYKER (34) – Woolace 7; Fulk 5; Ruffer 0; Wickerham 13, Ramon 3, Rethmel 6; Oberlin 0; Totals: 4-6-8 – 34
AYERSVILLE (39) – McGuire 6; Becher 2; Waldron 10; Sheets 7; Dockery 2; Schindler 3; Manon 7; Young 2; Totals: 6-6-9 – 39
THREE-POINT GOALS: Stryker – Wickerham 3, Rethmel 2, Fulk; Ayersville – Waldron 3, McGuire, Sheets, Schindler; Rebounds – Stryker 21 (Rethmel 5); Ayersville 25 (Schindler 7); Turnovers – Stryker 10; Ayersville 11
STRYKER 7 8 9 10 – 34
AYERSVILLE 4 12 10 13 – 39
Dan can be reached at email@example.com
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