LEIPSIC – Leipsic nudged ahead with three minutes to go.
But the Vikings’ youngsters weren’t able to hold off McComb.
McComb used its experience down the stretch to post a 43-38 girls basketball victory over Leipsic Wednesday at Leipsic.
Leipsic is 1-1, 0-1 in the Blanchard Valley Conference and 1-0 in the Putnam County League.
It was the opener for McComb.
“The first game was a little sloppy, but we’ll take the win,” McComb coach Jeremy Herr said.
The Vikings returned only one starter from last year, 6-foot junior Elizabeth Scheckelhoff.
And the Vikings played four freshmen, including Marisa Hermiller and Whitney Langhals in key roles.
In fact, Langhals scored seven points in the fourth quarter. Her 15-footer gave the Vikings a 35-32 lead with 3:15 to go.
“She’s (Langhals) a sparkplug,” Leipsic coach Gary Kreinbrink said.
McComb senior Hannah Schroeder came down and buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 35 with 2:29 to go.
“I thought the key was when we were up three and didn’t get two defensive rebounds in that possession, then they hit a three in that same possession to tie it up,” Kreinbrink said.
McComb junior Alexis Shoop gave the Panthers the lead to stay with a 17-footer to make it 37-35 with 1:45 left.
Senior Alysha Like hit a layup for McComb to make it 39-35 with 40 seconds left.
Back came the freshman Langhals, who hit a driving 5-footer and a foul shot to bring the Vikings within 39-38 with 33 seconds left.
But that was as close as Leipsic would get.
Leipsic received a technical foul and two shots for McComb when the Vikings entered a sub who wasn’t listed in the scorebook.
“That was my fault,” Kreinbrink said. “That’s never happened to me in my 34 years of coaching. And they have a great free-throw shooter in Malorie Schroeder.’’
Junior Malorie Schroeder made both foul shots to push McComb’s lead to 41-38 with 29 seconds left.
For Leipsic, Scheckelhoff had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Freshman Langhals added 12 points.
Freshman Marisa Hermiller had five points and 11 rebounds.
“We like our freshmen and our sophomore classes,” Kreinbrink said. “They just need game experience and going through everything, like an end of a game situation. We’re really going to get better and better as the season progresses.’’
Leipsic sophomore Jocie Hermiller had five points. Sophomore Ally Kirkendall had two points and six rebounds.
For McComb, senior Hannah Schroeder had 13 points with three 3-pointers. Junior Malorie Schroeder had 13 points and eight rebounds.
Olivia Miehls had four points and seven rebounds.
Leipsic won the rebounding battle, 43-38.
Leipsic had 20 turnovers, while McComb had 11.
Leipsic was only 2 of 10 at the foul line. McComb hit 10 of 11, including 4 of 5 in the final quarter.
McComb used an 11-0 run in the first half to take a 16-9 lead with 6:56 left in the second quarter.
That helped the Panthers hold a 20-15 lead at the half.
McComb then came out with a three-quarters court press in the third quarter. That caused Leipsic to turn the ball over six times in the quarter and McComb led 30-25 after three.
“It (the press) did cause some problems,” Herr said. “It caused them some fits, but they’re a young, scrappy ballclub. It was unfortunate about that technical at the end.’’
The Vikings kicked up the tempo in the second half and Scheckelhoff was getting scoring help from the youngsters, especially Langhals.
Leipsic went on a 10-2 run to start the final quarter and the Vikings pulled ahead 35-32 at the 3:15 mark.
“We have to (pick up the tempo),” Kreinbrink said. “We’re not a great halfcourt team right now. Our younger kids are better going up and down the floor so that’s what we tried to do.’