PAULDING — Every matchup in recent history between Bath and St. Marys has been intense.
Two weeks ago, in the regular-season game between these two programs, Bath edged St. Marys in a hard-fought battle, 35-34.
Thursday’s Division II district semifinal girls basketball game between these two programs wasn’t any different than the previous meetings.
However, this time, St. Marys managed to claim the lead late in the game, and then hold off Bath down the stretch for a hard-fought 36-34 victory at Paulding High School.
St. Marys (19-6) will face Toledo Central Catholic (21-1) in a district final Saturday at Paulding with tip-off set for 6 p.m.
Toledo Central Catholic defeated Napoleon (18-7) in the first district semifinal Thursday night, 47-42.
Bath ends its season, 19-6.
Anne Oliver led Bath Thursday with 16 points, including three 3-pointers. Oliver also pulled down six rebounds. Claire Foust had eight points, nine rebounds and a block. Ava Craddock, Bath’s leading scorer, was held to seven points and five rebounds.
Cora Rable led St. Marys with 13 points. At the defensive end, Rable came away with four steals, including a key steal in the final seconds of the game. Teammate Karsyn McGlothen, a 6-foot, 1-inch post player, had eight points, six boards and five blocks for the Roughriders.
“I knew when we had a lead (in the fourth quarter), it wasn’t comfortable,” St. Marys head coach Jon Burke said with a grin. “Bath made a nice run on us in the fourth quarter. They tied it up, then we were down one.
“We had some big free throws from Cora Rable (in the fourth quarter). We got some nice defensive pressure from the girls, especially Cora Rable at the end – being able to make a steal and a layup. She hit three big left-handed layups when we needed them. Every time we play Bath, it’s a dog fight; and it comes down to who has the ball last.”
And that’s how Thursday’s game ended.
With 32 seconds left to play, Rable made a steal and took it all the way for a layup to give the Roughriders a 35-33 advantage.
Moments later, Rable hit 1 of 2 shots from the free throw line to give her team a 36-33 lead.
St. Marys also started the game strong on Thursday night.
After Bath took the early 2-0 lead, St. Marys responded, and eventually came away with a 9-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
McGlothen paced the Roughriders with six first-quarter points and three blocks.
St. Marys made 3 of 11 shots from the field in the first eight minutes. Bath connected on 2 of 6 field goal attempts.
The score was knotted twice in the second stanza, before the Roughriders managed to slip out with a 19-14 lead at the halftime break.
St. Marys connected on 8 of 27 shots from the field in the first half. Bath was 5 of 17 from the floor.
McGlothen had six points, five rebounds and three blocks in the first 16 minutes of action. Oliver paced Bath in the first half with six markers.
“Karsyn (McGlothen) had a good comeback this game,” Burke said. “She was sick, earlier this week. She was a nice presence inside, tonight. She made some big shots. We were very proud of her for the way she stepped up tonight.”
Bath struggled at the offensive end in the third quarter. The Wildkittens were just 2 of 10 from the field as St. Marys contested most of their shots.
The Roughriders took the ball to the basket a lot in the third stanza.
By the third stop, St. Marys led 29-22.
Bath wasn’t done.
At the 6:50 mark of the fourth quarter, Rachel Clark (three points, four steals) hit a 3-pointer for Bath to cut the deficit to 2, 29-27.
Then, less than a minute later, Oliver canned her second 3-pointer of the game to give Bath a 30-29 lead.
However, St. Marys made some big plays down the stretch to notch the win.
For the game, Bath shot 29 percent from the field. St. Marys connected on 36 percent of its field goal attempts.
Bath turned the ball over 14 times on the night, while St. Marys committed 12 turnovers.
Bath held a 31-26 edge on the boards.
Burke was especially pleased at how his team was able to slow down Craddock.
“We had Kendall Dieringer (seven points) guarding her (Craddock) for most of the game,” Burke said. “Kendall did a phenomenal job on her. She did not get a 3-point field goal all night, and that was our goal. She had some points, but most of it came from driving the lane and getting to the free throw line. So, being able to slow Ava Craddock down was huge.”
Toledo Central Catholic 47, Napoleon 42
It was a game of runs.
Fortunately for the Toledo Central Catholic Fighting Irish, they got the final and decisive run of the night, en route to a five-point win over Napoleon Thursday night.
Central Catholic was down 29-19 at the halftime break.
The Fighting Irish outscored Napoleon 28-13 in the second half.
Corniya Clay, a 5-foot, 3-inch guard, led Toledo Central Catholic (21-1) with 12 points. Teammate Brooklyn Vaughn added 11 points in the winning effort.
Sophie Chipps led Napoleon (18-7) and all scorers with 19 points, including two 3-pointers. Emma Pedroza scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers for the Wildcats.
After falling behind early on, Napoleon battled back and pulled out to a 15-13 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Napoleon picked it up in the second stanza, and extended its lead to 10, 29-19 by the halftime break.
Chipps and Pedroza each scored 10 first-half points for Napoleon.
TCC came roaring back in the third quarter, and cut the deficit to 2, 32-30 by the third stop.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.