By: Daniel Cooley
BRYAN – Knotted at 19-19 at halftime, Stryker outscored Lincolnview 27-15 in the second half to claim a sectional title, with a 46-34 win.
The fourth quarter played a huge factor, with Stryker outscoring Lincolnview, 12-4.
Stryker’s Sage Woolace again paced the Lady Panthers with 27 points, but the three-point shooting of Taylore Rethmel and Lexi Wickerham helped spell the difference.
Along with Woolace’s two three-pointers, Rethmel hit three treys and Wickerham two more, as Stryker hit seven three-pointers, to just two for Lincolnview.
“Those girls were ready to take shots and they were going in,” said Stryker coach Conner Varner.
“The second half, we just wanted it more. And Sage played a great game. She was not going to let us lose this game.”
“And defensively, Sage can guard, too. She did a fantastic job guarding their leading scorer.”
Lincolnview’s MaKayla Jackman finished with 15 points, but with Woolace guarding her, had just two points in the second half.
“I just thought, if I can guard her and keep her from scoring, we’ll be in good shape,” Woolace said.
“And Taylore (Rethmel) came off the bench and normally doesn’t play much. But I know she knows what she’s doing.”
“She played well for us defensively, helping out against their big man (Carsyn Looser).”
Lincolnview’s six foot center Looser hauled in 15 rebounds, but finished with just eight points.
“Knowing my job was to help out defensively in the post, I felt confident coming into the game,” Rethmel said.
“(The team) worked together well tonight and our team defense was amazing.”
The first 2 1/2 quarters were tight throughout, with five ties and five lead changes. Lincolnview charged ahead early, leading, 13-7, after Jackman’s three-pointer.
Woolace then answered with a three-pointer, to cut Lincolnview’s lead to 13-10 after one quarter.
With Lincolnview leading 15-12 early in the second quarter after Jackman’s bucket, a Woolace basket and a Rethmel three-pointer put Stryker up, 17-15.
Baskets by Looser and Jackman put Lincolnview back up, 19-17. But Woolace then sank two charity tosses to tie the score at 19-19 at halftime.
With the score tied at 23-23 after Woolace’s basket, Wickerham then nailed a trey to put Stryker up, 26-23.
Lincolnview then responded to take a 27-26 lead on consecutive baskets by Looser. But that would be the last lead that Lincolnview would have, and Stryker began to pull away late.
Wickerham’s two-pointer put Stryker up, 28-27 before Woolace would hit an old fashioned three-point play on a basket and free throw.
Rethmel followed with a three pointer to put Stryker up 34-27.
For Lincolnview, Emerson Walker’s free throw and Jackman’s basket cut Stryker’s lead to 34-30 after three quarters.
In the final period, Walker’s basket cut Stryker’s lead to 38-34. But that was the last time Lincolnview would score, and Stryker finished the game on an 8-0 run. Rethmel and Woolace hit consecutive treys to put Stryker up, 44-34 and then Woolace finished things off with another basket, to bring the final count to 46-34.
For Stryker, along with Woolace’s 27 points, Rethmel finished with 11 points and Wickham acquired eight points.
Stryker (18-6), the third seed, advances to the Division IV district semifinals at Defiance High School.
The Lady Panthers will face second-seeded Ayersville (18-6), a 44-24 winner over Antwerp in the second game of the night, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 23.
Fifth-seeded Lincolnview bows out with an 11-12 mark.
LINCOLNVIEW (34) – Price 0; Jackman 15; Breese 6; Walker 5; Stevens 0; Looser 8; Totals: 13-2-2 – 34
STRYKER (46) – Woolace 27; Leupp 0; Ruffer 0; Ramon 0; Wickerham 8; Rethmel 11; Oberlin 0; Totals: 10-7-5 – 46
THREE-POINT GOALS: Lincolnview – Jackman 2; Stryker – Rethmel 3; Woolace 2; Wickerham 2; REBOUNDS: Lincolnview – 40 (Looser 15); Stryker – 25 (Wickerham 7); TURNOVERS: Lincolnview – 9; Stryker – 8
LINCOLNVIEW 13 6 11 4 – 34
STRYKER 10 9 15 12 – 46
Dan can be reached at email@example.com