ARCHBOLD – On Thursday, March 2nd, the Stryker Lady Panthers and Antwerp Archers met in the semi-finals of the OHSAA Division IV District Tournament. The two teams were very familiar with each other having just played on February 7th. In that matchup the Lady Panthers need overtime to top the Archers by a final score of 52-47. Prior to tip-off there was little doubt that this encounter would be much different than the first.
The Archers got on the board first when Maggie Wilson pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled by Taylor Haines. The senior sank both free throws for Antwerp. Stryker responded with two baskets by Hailey Doehrmann to take a 4-2 lead with 4:02 left in the first quarter.
Antwerp closed the period with a 10-0 run, aided by the fact the Lady Panthers committed 5 turnovers and were able to take only one shot the final four minutes. Heading into quarter number two, the Lady Archers had built a 12-4 lead, and caused 8 Stryker turnovers overall.
The second quarter was much like the first, except this time the roles were reversed. Antwerp turned the ball over on their first possession, and Haines thanked them by drilling a triple from the left baseline. Another miscue led to a Doehrmann driving down the lane for two more at the 5:00 mark of the quarter.
At this point Stryker had crawled back to trailing only by 3 points, 12-9. This prompted Antwerp’s Head Coach, Scott McMichael to make the signal for a timeout.
Haines responded for the Lady Panthers with another three, this time from the right baseline at the 4:16 mark. With the game now tied at 12, and momentum seemingly on their side, the tide turned slightly as Doehrmann was saddled with her 2nd foul with 3:58 left before halftime.
The Lady Panthers were able to maintain their composure. Even though they did not score the rest of the period, they were able to limit the Lady Archers to just 2 points. Those were provided on a basket by Antwerp’s leading scorer, Rachael Williamson, who was held to just that basket the entire first half.
As the buzzer sounding signifying intermission, Stryker had reduced the deficit to just two points, trailing 14-12. The half was uncharacteristically sloppy for both teams as the Lady Panthers committed 10 turnovers and Antwerp had 8 miscues.
According to Coach Steve Brown’s postgame comments, a halftime offensive modification was the key. “Coach Greiser made a great adjustment to our zone offense at halftime. We wanted to get the ball to Hailey (Doehrmann) more in the high post. That got her going!” This obviously paid huge dividends as the Lady Panthers came out of the break with renewed confidence offensively.
First Doehrmann hit a short jumper in the lane to tie the game at 14. At the 6:12 mark Taylor Haines picked up her 2nd foul, but Wilson was only able to convert the first of two free throws for Antwerp. From that point on in the period it was all Stryker. The Lady Panthers closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 22-15 lead into the fourth quarter. Stryker had also turned up the defensive pressure as the Lady Archers turned the ball over 4 times, and also went 0-4 from the field.
Doehrmann opened the final 8 minutes just like she did the third quarter as she dropped in a bucket with a nice drive down the lane. After each team exchanged turnovers, Williamson finally found the scoring column again with a highly contested three pointer pulling Antwerp within six, 24-18.
Madi Myers collected her only points of the night for Stryker with 4:30 left in the contest. Following an Antwerp miss, the Lady Panthers called a timeout with 4:00 remaining. After the strategy break, Stryker ran 1:45 off the clock before requesting another T.O. Although the Lady Panthers turned the ball over at the 2:08 mark, the time they ran off the clock essentially sealed the fate for the Lady Archers.
Antwerp was unable to make a dent in the deficit following the Stryker miscue. Instead, Taylor Haines stepped in the path of a pass, drove for a layup, and was fouled on the shot. The subsequent charity toss was good with 1:56 left on the clock. The point was the final one of the night for the Panthers.
Wilson received a nice pass from Smith for a basket, and the Archers quickly requested a timeout with just 49 seconds left. With the score now 29-20 in favor of Stryker.
The Lady Panthers missed a few free throws down the stretch, but the Lady Archers were unable to take advantage of the opportunities. Finally Antwerp conceded the outcome and allowed the Lady Panthers to run out the clock and claim the 29-20 victory.
In the postgame interview, besides the zone offense change, Coach Brown noted another adjustment the Lady Panthers made he felt was a key to success after the sluggish first quarter. “We played man most of the year, but had played some 2-3 zone recently, and thought we may need to go to it tonight. When we switched to the zone after the first quarter we really played it well. We knew where their shooters were 99% of the time, and were able to push them further out. Our kids did a great job of talking and communicating.” Brown did have some concern regarding the team’s miscues. “We turned it over more than we wanted to, but kids get uptight in tournament games. We made some great plays to overcome them.”
Final statistics indicated that both teams had their struggles. Stryker went 12-29 from the field for 41%, while Antwerp was an anemic 7-30 for 23%. Turnovers plagued both teams as well. The Lady Panthers were responsible for 18, although 8 of those came in the first quarter.
The Lady Archers had 16 miscues with many leading to Stryker points. The foul line wasn’t really a factor for Stryker as they made just four trips, and converted only one try. Antwerp did make a fifth of their total points from the stripe going 4 for 5.
Doehrmann led the Lady Panthers with 13 points, while Taylor Haines added 9 tallies. Emma Grime contributed 3 points, with Brittney Haines and Madi Myers registering 2 points apiece.
The Lady Archers were led by Rachel Williamson and Maggie Wilson with 5 points each. The total for Williamson is well below her usual double-figure average.
With the win Stryker improves to 21-3 on the season and takes on the Hicksville Lady Aces on March 4th, with the winner advancing to the Regional Tournament at Elida on March 9th.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
Antwerp – 12 2 1 5 – 20
Stryker – 4 8 10 7 – 29
Kent Hutchison may be reached at email@example.com