BRYAN– Game #1 of the night at Bryan High School on Wednesday, February 22, matched Hilltop against Fairview. The Lady Apaches size, speed, and pressure were more than the Cadets could handle as the Defiance County squad forced 27 Hilltop turnovers resulting in a 48-29 victory.
Carly Wendling popped a trey to open the scoring for Fairview. At the 6:26 mark, Hilltop Mentor, Bill Geis, took a time out to settle his team. Ariana Brown responded for the Cadets with a basket, and after Abby Schaper dropped in two free throws, Hilltop lead 4-3 at 5:43 of the opening quarter. However, for the remainder of the period the Cadets turned the ball over 9 times. The miscues resulted in a 14-0 run by the Lady Apaches and thus a 17-4 lead after one period.
Both teams went ice cold to start the second quarter. Finally Felicity Jackson nailed a trifecta at the 5:50 mark to cut the lead to 10 points.
Allison Vetter scored for Fairview, at 4:13, but each team turned the ball over twice in the next two minutes.
Brown dropped in a smooth left handed hook to make the score 19-9. Katie Crites scored twice, with a bucket from Vetter in between for Fairview. Hilltop got a free throw from Schaper, and a jump shot by Audrey Funkhouser to provide the 25-12 score at halftime with the Lady Apaches in the lead.
The first half was a struggle for each team. Although Fairview forced 17 turnovers, they missed many shots inside the paint going just 10-30 from the field. Although Hilltop caused 10 turnovers, they were able to convert just 4 of 21 shot attempts.
Aubrey Wyse drilled a three at the 6:30 mark to open the scoring for the second half, and cut the Fairview lead to 10 points, and added to charity tosses later in the quarter, but the Apaches upped the margin to 31-17 following the freebies.
Mercedes Wagner got loose after Hilltop turnovers to push the lead to 35-17, until Brown scored after an offensive rebound to end the quarter. With just 8 minutes remaining, the Lady Cadets had their backs against the wall down by 16.
Kara Brown got fouled on drive to the basket, and made the second free throw at 7:45 remaining. Unfortunately for Hilltop, the turnover bug bit hard once again. This time five turnovers resulted in 10 unanswered points for Fairview giving them a 45-20 advantage with 3:50 on the scoreboard.
Johnnie Roth stopped the bleeding with a three pointer from the right wing, Jackson made two foul shots, and Schaper added a basket to cut the deficit to 20 points.
Roth put back on offensive rebound to end the scoring for the contest, however as the buzzer sounded Fairview advanced to the Sectional final with a 48-29 win. They play conference rival Hicksville with a trip to Districts on the line.
The Lady Apaches who are now 11-12 on the year, were led in scoring by Wagner with a game high 18 points. Vetter joined her in double figures with 11.
The Lady Cadets end their season with a record of 5-18. Arianna Brown led the team in scoring with 6 points. Wyse, Schaper, Jackson, and Roth all added 5 points, while Funkhouser had 2 points and Kara Brown one free throw.
Hilltop says farewell to four seniors, Sydni Rivera, who missed the majority of the season after suffering a knee injury, as well as Ariana Brown, Abby Schaper, and Felicity Jackson.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
Fairview 17 8 10 13 – 48
Hilltop 4 8 7 10 – 29
Kent Hutchison can be reached at email@example.com