DISTRICT CHAMPS … Hayley Meyer gets loose inside for a bucket in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s district final win over Elmwood. (PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER, STAFF)
By: Nate Calvin
WHITEHOUSE – The momentum entering the fourth quarter of Saturday afternoon’s Division III district final was clearly on the side of the Elmwood Lady Royals.
Elmwood had just ended the third quarter on a 10-3 run to take a 50-46 lead and Wauseon starters Marisa Seiler and Hayley Meyer were each saddled with their fourth foul in the quarter.
Despite the foul trouble the Indians continued with their full court press which paid dividends in the final frame as Elmwood committed 13 turnovers in the fourth (26 in the game) and the Indians closed the game on a 26-6 run to pull away for the 72-58 win.
“We knew it was going to be a battle coming in”, commented head coach Dan Seiler. “With them having the player of the year in the district but they have a nice supporting cast around her and for the number 30 (Aubrey Johnson) to give them 13 points in the first half, I didn’t see that coming.”
“Our bench really stepped up with our bigs (Seiler, Meyer) in foul trouble, gave us some quality minutes. Just couldn’t be happier for this group of girls”, added Seiler.
Elmwood continued their run to start the fourth quarter as District 7 Player of the Year Brooklyn Thrash would get a steal and layup to increase the lead to 52-46.
The Wauseon onslaught would begin with a triple from Ellie Rodriguez followed by three straight buckets inside by Meyer to give Wauseon a 55-52 lead and force an Elmwood timeout.
The Indians continued to push the tempo as Autumn Pelok hit a jumper, Meyer added two more field goals and combined with several Elmwood turnovers, Wauseon had ripped off a 16-0 run to take a 62-52 advantage.
Elmwood stayed within striking distance though as Anna Barber and Thrash scored to trim the Wauseon lead to 62-56.
The Indians regained control with a bucket from Seiler before going 8/10 at the line in the final minutes to seal the win. The Indians were 9/14 at the line in the final stanza along with going 8/12 from floor
It was evident from the opening tip that both teams wanted to get up and down the court and it was Wauseon establishing Meyer inside as she would go 6/6 at the line and finished with eight points as the game was tied 15-15 after one quarter of play.
It was more of the same in the second quarter from both squads before Elmwood would get seven points from Aubrey Johnson during 10-3 spurt to stretch the lead to 30-24.
Wauseon answered with a 9-3 run featuring a 3-pointer by Pelok, a bucket from Seiler, and a few free throws sprinkled in to tie the game at 33-33 going to halftime.
After a conventional 3-point play by Thrash to start the third quarter scoring, it was Meyer again getting open on the backside of the Elmwood defense as she tallied six straight points to put Wauseon back in front at 39-36.
The nip and tuck battle continued until Thrash would get rolling by scoring the Royals last seven points of the quarter to give Elmwood a 50-46 lead heading to the fourth.
Wauseon finished the game 26/36 (72%) at the charity stripe while shooting 21/45 from the field for 46%.
Meyer netted 25 points on the afternoon with Pelok and Seiler each dropping 20.
Thrash, who surpassed 2,000 career points in the third quarter, finished with 27 and Johnson added 13, all in the first half.
Wauseon (22-3), making their first regional appearance since 2009-10 season, will now face Ottawa-Glandorf in the Division III regional semifinals at Findlay High School on Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:30pm.
WAUSEON 15 18 13 26 – 72
ELMWOOD 15 18 17 8 – 58
Nate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org