ELIDA – Tonight’s matchup in the championship basketball game of the Vicki Mauk Holiday Invitational might resemble more of a track meet than a basketball game.
Elida (5-4) will take on cross-town rival Lima Senior (7-2) in tonight’s title game at the Elida Fieldhouse in girls basketball. The consolation game will tip-off at 6 p.m. with the title game to follow.
Lima Senior won Thursday’s first game, defeating Sylvania Southview, 69-67. Elida then held off Waynesfield-Goshen in the nightcap, 70-57, to advance.
In the second game, Elida’s defensive pressure helped cause 24 W-G turnovers.
The Bulldogs had balanced scoring as Kylie Downton and Abby Waddle each had 15 points. Downton, a 5-foot-8 guard, also had a team-high 12 rebounds. Waddle, a 5-5 guard, came away with 11 boards and dished out three assists. Brett Pauff came off the bench to score nine points for Elida.
For W-G (8-2), freshman Emily Patton led the way with 15 points, including 8-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. Freshman Kiersten Wilcox scored 14 points and had seven rebounds for the Tigers.
The game was tight throughout the first half. After several lead changes, Elida and W-G went into the halftime break tied at 23.
However, in the third quarter, Elida broke the game open, outscoring the Tigers 28-11, en route to a 51-34 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Elida’s largest lead of the game was 21 early in the fourth quarter.
“This is the first game that we actually showed some mental toughness,” Elida co-coach Chrissy Billiter said. “That’s what we’ve been lacking. I think the girls needed this ‘statement win’ for our program. They refused to lose today.”
Elida made some defensive adjustments in the second half, which kept W-G off the free throw line as much.
“They (W-G) had 11 points in the first half, just on free throws,” Elida co-coach Elise Jenkins said. “We told them that we needed to keep them off the line. We were able to go to the foul line in the second half. That really kept us in the game.”
Waynesfield is playing several underclassmen this season.
“I think a little bit of that youth got us tonight,” W-G coach Ted Patton said. “(With) starting the youth that we are, on that big stage, sometimes that youth shows up too much.”
Billiter said her team is looking forward to tonight’s game with Lima Senior.
“I told the girls to bring their track shoes,” she said with a smile.
Lima Senior 69, Southview 67
Lima Senior’s two losses this season were the result of losing leads.
In Thursday’s game with Sylvania Southview, the Spartans were able to stave off a fourth-quarter comeback to come away with the two-point victory.
Lima Senior led at the end of each quarter Thursday. At halftime, the Spartans led 39-29. At the end of the third quarter, Lima Senior led 57-49.
In the final eight minutes of regulation, Southview cut the deficit to one point, on two occasions. However, the Spartans made enough plays down the stretch to hold the Cougars off for the win.
Indiya Benjamin led the Spartans with 20 points, including three 3-pointers. Benjamin had four assists and two steals.
Rion Thompson had a solid game for Lima Senior, scoring 18 points, making five steals and coming away with five boards. Kierre James added 11 points and four rebounds for the Spartans.
Sarah Klepzig led Southview with 18 points. Taryn Stanley scored 16 points and had eight rebounds. Emily Westphal scored 11 points and had a game-high 14 boards.
”For us, we found a way to win it,” Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said. “We’ve had two games this year with (Toledo) Whitmer and Toledo Central Catholic, where we had leads like that and we let them slip away. It (Thursday’s win) wasn’t the exact way that you want to win, but we found a way to get the win.”