ARCHBOLD – The second contest of the night at Archbold High School on Thursday, March 2, pit the Pettisville Lady Blackbirds and the Hicksville Lady Aces. The contest provided the Blackbirds with not only an opportunity to advance to the District Finals to play BBC rival Stryker, but also the chance to avenge a 35-27 loss suffered to the Aces on February 7th.
Pettisville got on the scoreboard first as Morgan Leppelmeier cashed in on a shot in the lane. The Blackbirds employed a box and one on 6’1” Addison Bergman in an attempt to slow down the inside force. Hicksville took some time to adjust offensively, but finally at the 5:30 mark they cracked the scoring column on a 3 point shot from the top of the key by Katelynn Berenyi. Morgan scored again on a nice pass from Nicole Foor, but Katelyn Bergman answered with another trey for the Lady Aces, this time from the left baseline to make the score 6-4, Hicksville with 3:40 left in the opening stanza.
Brandi Schnitkey connected from the left wing to knot the score at six. Addison Bergman got the ball in the post, but was fouled by Sami Tilley. She sank both freebies to put Hicksville back on top. Once again Pettisville matched the effort, this time on a basket by Alexa Leppelmeier. Addison Bergman got the final four points of the quarter. The first two on a put back after an offensive rebound, and the second on a lob over the smaller Pettisville defender with 1:24 left on the clock. The teams exchanged turnovers and missed shots and as the quarter ended Hicksville led 12-8.
The turnovers were en vogue to begin the second quarter as both teams continued their generosity. With just under 7:00 minutes left, Katelyn Bergman connected for two from the right baseline. Alexis Kerns made a basket off an offensive rebound and was fouled. Although she didn’t convert the three point play, the foul itself was significant as it sent Alexa Leppelmeier to the bench at the 6:30 mark with 2 fouls.
Following a Pettisville timeout, then Nicole Foor missing two free throws, Katelyn Bergman hit her second triple of the night, once again from the left baseline, to put Hicksville up by 11 points, 19-8.
Tilley put a halt to the 11-0, Lady Aces run when she hit a trey just right of the top of the key as an even 4:00 were left to play before intermission. Pettisville called another timeout, this time with 3:42 left. The strategy out of the break was to employ a triangle and two defense. The intent being to stop the Bergman sisters who had accounted for 14 of the Lady Aces 19 points scored.
Initially the tactic worked perfection as the Lady Blackbirds shut down Hicksville while Morgan Leppelmeier hit a basket on a turn-around jumper from the right block, then Elizabeth Beck buried a three from the left wing. Suddenly with 2:32 left before halftime Pettisville had trimmed the Aces lead to 19-16.
Again Addison Bergman took advantage of her size to grab an offensive rebound and covert with 1:11 on the clock. The score proved to be the final of the half leaving Hicksville on top 21-16 as both teams headed to the locker room.
Obviously the absence of Alexa Leppelmeier on the floor disrupted the flow of the Lady Blackbirds offense as they took only 16 shots, but were able to convert seven. Hicksville actually was having more difficulty going just 8-24 from the field. However, the Lady Aces had secured 8 offensive rebounds compared to none for Pettisville. Most of the boards were converted to points for Hicksville. Turnovers were reasonable for both teams as Pettisville had 6, and Hicksville was guilty of 4 miscues.
The second half begin on a positive note for Pettisville as Morgan Leppelmeier dropped in two foul shots. However, both teams went into an offensive funk as neither team could find the basket for over two and a half minutes.
Finally at the 5:11 mark Addison Bergman snatched another offensive board and scored the miss. The bucket prompted the Lady Aces on another run, this time 10 straight points, to extend the Hicksville lead to 31-18 with 2:06. It was here where Harlee Shuman stole a Pettisville pass and scored an uncontested layup leading Pettisville Head Coach Jason Waldvogel to use his second time out following the team’s tenth turnover and score. In the course of the run, at the 2:36 mark, Alexa Leppelmeier picked up her third foul to add insult to injury for Pettisville.
Morgan Leppelmeier was fouled by Addison Bergman and made both free tosses. However, another offensive rebound, this time by Ashley Peter, made the deficit 33-20. At this point Alexa Leppelmeier came back into the game.
Shuman scored again to extend the lead to 15 point. However, Alexa Leppelmeier was able to get loose and nail a triple from the left wing with 37 seconds left in the quarter. The basket was the last of the period for both teams. Heading into the final 8 minutes Hicksville had established what they thought was a comfortable 12 point advantage.
However, Morgan Leppelmeier didn’t share that opinion. The sophomore may or may not have called glass, but banked in a three from the right wing at the 7:29 mark. Next she moved to the left side hitting first from the left elbow, then the left baseline from about 10 feet. Foor collected an offensive rebound and found Tilley open on the left baseline. After the shot fell through, Pettisville had cut the margin to just four, 36-32, with 3:51 still to play.
Berenyi calmed the crowd by making the first of two free throws. Alexa Leppelmeier was fouled Shuman with 3:14 left, but was unable to send either home. Morgan Leppelmeier hacked Hicksville’s Natalie Briskey with just under 3 minutes left, but she suffered the same fate from the line. Pettisville secured the rebound, but committed a turnover on the offensive end. Peter took advantage of the miscue and scored with 2:40 on the clock to give Hicksville a 39-32 lead.
Alex Leppelmeier drove hard to the goal and was fouled by Katelyn Bergman. This time the senior sank both tries. Unsuccessful on attempts to steal the inbounds pass, and running out of time, Beck had to foul Katelyn Bergman. The sophomore was only able to convert the first shot, but the Lady Aces were up by two possessions with just over 2 minutes in the game.
Addison Bergman pulled down another offensive rebound and was immediately fouled. She missed both attempts, but her sister Katelyn grabbed the miss. Pettisville was able to tie her up and the possession arrow pointed in their favor.
Alexa Leppelmeier was fouled again, and sank two more free tosses for Pettisville. The second make gave the Blackbirds an opportunity to once again set the full-court press. This time the inbounds pass was picked off and Beck nailed a triple from the top of the key with 1:38 left.
As the ball fell through the net Waldvogel signaled for a timeout. Incredibly the Lady Blackbirds had cut the deficit to just one point, 40-39.
Straight out of the timeout, Hicksville was nearly charged with a 10 second violation, but Hicksville Coach, Josh Freese, got a timeout just in time. However, two Lady Blackbirds trapped Briskey on the baseline and she traveled. With 48.6 seconds left Pettisville had the ball with a chance to take the lead for the first time since the first minute of the contest.
The Lady Blackbirds got a shot, and an offensive rebound. However, on the shot attempt after the board, Addison Bergman made her presence known once again as she rejected the attempt. As she grabbed the ball, she then turned and fired a strike down court to Berenyi who converted the uncontested layup to extend the lead to three points, 42-39, with just 25 ticks left.
Pettisville got another good look, but as fate would have it, the ball wouldn’t go home. With 13.4 left Berenyi headed to the line with a chance to put the game away. She missed by attempts, but once again size mattered and Peter grabbed the offensive rebound.
The Blackbirds tied up Peter, but this time the possession arrow was in favor of the Lady Aces. Hicksville inbounded the ball to Addison Bergman who was instantly fouled by Tilley. With 8 seconds left she made the second of the tries to essentially ice the game for Hicksville and punched their ticket to a date with Stryker in Saturday’s District Final.
Pettisville rushed the ball up the floor, but their shot attempt was off the mark and as the clock read zero and the buzzer sounded, Hicksville had prevailed by a final of 43-39.
The final statistics indicated both teams found bucket elusive. Pettisville made 13-40 field goals for 32%, while Hicksville was slightly better going 17-42 for 40%. The Lady Blackbirds were a little better from the foul line going 8 for 14 for 57%, with the Aces making just 6 of 19 for 32%. The offensive glass was the saving grace for Hicksville as they had 15, compared to just 8 for Pettisville. Overall the Aces held a slight rebounding edge 29-23. Pettisville committed 13 turnovers compared to 11 for Hicksville.
Addison Bergman paced the Lady Aces powering up 11 points, while Ashley Peter hit double digits as well with 10. Katelyn Bergman added 9 scores for Hicksville who are now 19-6 heading into the District Final with Stryker.
Sophomore Morgan Leppelmeier led Pettisville in scoring with game high 17 points. She also had to assume much of the ball handling duties as sister Alexa spent much of the night on the bench with foul difficulties. The elder Leppelmeier was held below her average, but finished her illustrious career with 9 points. Elizabeth Beck came off the bench to bury to 3’s for 6 points, while Sami Tilley had 5 tallies.
Brandi Schnitkey closed out the scoring for the Lady Blackbirds with 2 points.
Despite the defeat, Pettisville has a lot to be proud of. They finished the season with a record of 18-6, were Co-champs of the BBC with Stryker, and won another Sectional Crown.
Pettisville says farewell to three seniors, Alexa Leppelmeier, Lynnsey Crouch, and Tessa Waidelich. While they will leave a void to fill, Coach Waldvogel should be highly optimistic. He will return 10 players off his tournament roster with the majority of them gaining valuable experience not only during the regular season, but in the postseason as well. While the loss leaves a sting, the Lady Blackbirds will assuredly be among the favorites to win the BBC next season and make a return appearance to Districts.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
Hicksville – 12 9 14 8 – 43
Pettisville – 8 8 7 16 – 39
Kent Hutchison may be reached at email@example.com