BATH TOWNSHIP — Sometimes a hot start will carry through the entire game and such was the case in Division III sectional finals at Bath on Saturday night.
Allen East (13-8) knocked off Bluffton in the opener by a final of 47-38 while Ottawa-Glandorf prevailed over Lima Central Catholic in the nightcap by a 48-30 final.
The Allen East defense was all over Bluffton and allowed them to jump out to to a 10-5 lead after one quarter that quickly grew to 25-13 going to the half-time break.
The Mustangs forced the Pirates (12-12) into 18 first half turnovers and also held Bluffton to 4-of-17 shooting (23 percent) in the decisive half.
“We were fired up and knew what was on the line and could hardly contain their excitement all week,” Allen East coach Jarrod Wehri said. “We had a good week of practice that carried over to the game.”
The Pirates regrouped at the half and tried to mount a come-back and did get to within two points early in the fourth quarter at 33-31.
But the Mustangs promptly went on an 8-0 run to grow the lead back to 10 points at 41-31 and held on for the victory by connecting on 8-of-10 free throws in the fourth period.
The Mustangs got a game-high 14 points from Kaycee Rowe while Carly Clum added 8 and Morgan Truex chipped in with seven for Allen East.
“We really wanted to play as a team and we did; we put as lot of practice into those free throws,” Rowe said. “It feels so good to get that net and we are going to Kalida to play again.”
Bluffton got a team high 11 points effort from Sarah Schriner while Paige Buroker added 10 points for the Pirates.
Bluffton struggled from the floor the entire night and finished shooting 12-of-38 from the field for 23 percent while the Mustangs ended at 40 percent on 16-of-40 from the floor.
Turnovers were decisive as the Pirates committed 30 in the contest compared to only 15 for Allen East.
“They played a little harder and got to more loose balls,” Bluffton coach Eric Garmatter said. “We played hard, just not good enough tonight.”
Allen East advances to the Kalida District where they will meet the winner of Fairview/Archbold at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Ottawa-Glandorf 48, Lima Central Catholic 30
The Titans used a stand-out defensive performance to shut down the T-Birds and advance to Kalida where they will meet the winner of the Tinora/Delta contest at 6:15 p.m. Thursday.
The O-G man to man caused the T-Birds (12-12) fits and caused 23 turnovers by LCC in the game. In addition, Molly Closson completely shut down T-Bird stand-out Meredith Shepherd as she held her to only two points (on fourth quarter free throws) in the contest.
“Closson’s defense on Shepherd was a key and set the tone early,” O-G coach Troy Yant said. “We limited the things LCC wanted to do.”
O-G, meanwhile, got an outstanding performance from junior Kristen Miller who totaled a game-high 21 points to pace the Titans’ attack.
“One of our starters (Steph Hempling) was out due to illness so I knew I had to take a little more on my shoulders,” Miller said. “We had good movement on offense and hopefully Steph will be back Thursday night.”
Sophomore Elissa Ellerbrock added eight points to the O-G (15-8) total.
LCC got seven points from Sydney Santaguida while Elizabeth Kidd add six to the T-Birds tally.
The Titans grabbed a 13-4 lead after one period of play as they held the T-Birds to 1-of-5 shooting while forcing LCC into six first quarter turnovers.
The second period was painful for both teams as O-G struggled hitting only 2-of-12 shots while LCC was only 1-of-5 and committed another eight turnovers in the quarter. The end result was a 6-2 scoring advantage for the Titans as they took a 19-6 lead to the half-time break.
LCC did regroup to score 24 second half points but were never able to make any type of run at the Titans lead.
The T-Birds ended the game shooting 10-of-33 for 31 percent but it was the 23 turnovers they committed that ultimately did them in.
“We are in big trouble if Meredith has an off night,” LCC coach Katie Krieg said. “Our defensive effort was good but we were not aggressive at all offensively tonight.”