PAULDING – After producing a big win over Bath in the Division II district semifinals St. Marys was hoping to carry that momentum against top seeded Napoleon Saturday.
But Napoleon was having none of it as the Wildcats jumped out to any early lead and never looked back as they recorded a 63—16 to capture the district title.
With the loss St. Marys ends its season with a 19-6 mark.
“That is a good Napoleon team,” St. Marys head coach John Burke said. “They shot lights out and if they don’t win state I would be shocked. That team can shoot and are aggressive and disruptive and a very good Napoleon team.
The Roughrider girls have not been in a district final in more than 20-plus years.
“This is our first time in an environment like this that was hostile and against you but it was fun,” Burke said. “I thought we had a pretty good following but then I saw that.”
Napoleon 25-0 moves to the regional final and will play Rossford at Ohio Northern University Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Napoleon head coach Corey Krienbrink said getting off to a good start has been important to his team and tonight was no different.
“A big start is always important to us especially with our crowd and it was their first district final in a long time,” Krienbrink said. “We thought if we could get off to a good start we could put them in a tough spot to get out of and us making shots early we got the crowd in it early with a lot of energy.”
From the opening whistle it was all Napoleon as the Wildcat defense forced the Roughriders into a plethora of turnovers to convert easy buckets and when the offense went into a half court set it seemed like the Wildcats could not miss.
By forcing three straight turnovers, Napoleon broke out to a quick 8-0 lead. The Roughriders got their first bucket at the 4:52 mark to make the score 12-2. The Wildcat lead ballooned to a 23-6 lead by the time the buzzer sounded for the end of the first eight minutes.
Napoleon took complete control of the game when they did allow as single Roughrider point in the second period and opened up a 38-6 lead to pretty much put the game away.
At one point, Napoleon did not allow a field goal for more than 23 minutes.
From 3-point range, the Wildcats were 10-of-17 and shot more than 50 percent from the field.
“We wanted to pressure them and really get them going fast,” Kreinbrink said. “We had really good energy and got them going a lot faster than they wanted to.”
Napoleon saw three players break the double-digit barrier with Casly Ressler and Emma Pedroza each scoring 13 points and Taylor Strock added 11.
No St. Marys player made it into double digits.
Burke said big loss was tough but he does not want to let this defeat diminish what the team accomplished this season.
“I think it is important that we use this game to define who we are,” Burke said. Our girls have responded to everything we have thrown at them all season,” Burke said. “They finished the season winning 17 out of 19 games and I am proud of what we have done by getting here and having a lot successful wins along the way.”