FASTBREAK POINTS … Blayze Langenderfer lays it in after a steal in the second quarter for Bryan. (PHOTO BY RICH HARDING, STAFF)
By: Nate Calvin
PAULDING – The Lady Bears caught fire from long range in the third quarter and made free throws down the stretch for a 47-39 win, avenging the loss to St. Marys in the tournament last year.
“I thought our kids did a nice job defensively. We got stuck on 12 points for a long time (in the first half). We couldn’t get the lid off the hoop, but our kids kept defending”, said Bryan coach Todd Grosjean.
“We made a few huge 3’s in the 3rd quarter by Marah Smith, Reese Grothaus, and Blayze Langenderfer.
Kailee Thiel did a solid job rebounding and Ella Voigt was huge at the foul line.”
Bryan jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening minutes before a Morgan Heese offensive rebound bucket would get the Roughriders on the board.
Ella Voigt would hit the first of seven Bryan treys later in the quarter as Bryan led 12-6 after the first eight minutes.
Reese Rable dialed up a trey to start the second quarter for St. Marys and then a field goal by Reese Rable trimmed the lead to 12-11 as Bryan went cold shooting.
Senior Blayze Langenderfer then provided a spark off the bench for the Bears by coming up with consecutive steals and layups to give her six points in the first half to help Bryan to an 18-14 lead at the break.
“Blayze Langenderfer did a great job off the bench giving us spark. She has done that consistently the last half the season. She would start on most teams.”
“We got great minutes out of her, and Allie Alspaugh”, commented Grosjean about Bryan’s bench play.
Bryan started the second half just like the first Half as Marah Smith and Reese Grothaus hit three-pointers during 9-2 run to grab their biggest lead of the night at 27-16.
Grothaus and Voigt added three-pointers to give Bryan four in the quarter as they maintained an 11-point lead a 35-24.
St. Marys chipped away at the Bryan lead by ending the third on a 7-0 run and then Hesse started the fourth with a bucket to cut the lead to 35-33.
Bryan responded with five straight points as Thiel scored down low and Langenderfer buried a triple from the top of the key to push the lead to 40-33 at the 4:44 mark.
Those would be Bryan’s only field goals of the final frame as Voigt went 4/4 at the line down the stretch and Thiel had a 2/2 trip to the charity stripe as Bryan’s final seven points of the night came at the free throw line.
Voigt paced a balanced scoring effort by Bryan with 13, Thiel had 12 and Langenderfer tallied 10.
Hesse led St. Marys (15-10) with 12 and Cora Rable added 11.
Awaiting Bryan (22-2) in the district final at Paulding will be No. 3 seed Lima Bath (20-4) who knocked off top-seeded Liberty-Benton 38-30 in the first semifinal of the night.
The Wildkittens handed Bryan one of their two losses this season, 57-43 back on November 19.
ST. MARYS (39) – Jacobs 0; Allemeier 2; Greber 0; Nuss 3; Hesse 12; R. Rable 6; C. Rable 11; Menker 0; Hirshfeld 5; Totals: 11-5-2 – 39
BRYAN (47) – Thiel 12; Voigt 13; Grothaus 6; Rau 0; Smith 6; Arnold; Langenderfer 10; Alspaugh 0; Totals: 8-7-10 – 47
GAME STATISTICS: St. MARYS – FG 16/39 (41%; FT – 2/3 (66%); Rebounds – 22 (6 offensive); Turnovers – 15; BRYAN: FG – 15/39 (38%); FT – 10/20 (50%); Rebounds – 25 (7 offensive); Turnovers – 12
ST. MARYS 6 8 17 8 – 39
BRYAN 12 6 17 12 – 47
Nate can be reached at email@example.com