DEFIANCE– On Saturday, February 25th, Williams County foes Edgerton and Stryker met for a Sectional Title and the chance to move on to Districts. Edgerton came into the contest with a huge task in front of them given that in the initial matchup between the two teams on January 24th the Panthers trounced the Bulldogs 60-33.
Stryker drew first blood at the 6:58 mark of the first period when Taylor Haines was fouled by Edgerton’s Sarah Roth, and converted the second of her two free throws. Edgerton suffered two turnovers, and Stryker one, then Kaitlyn Wonders dropped in a layup off a nice feed from Hailey Doehrmann to make the score 3-0. The basket prompted a time out from Edgerton Coach Joe Stark.
Following the break the Lady Bulldogs quickly suffered their third turnover of the quarter and Claire Flegal fouled the Panthers Emma Grime on her layup attempt. Grime made the first toss making the score 4-0.
Flegal put Edgerton on the board with 4:10 left in quarter number one, but a steal by Taylor Haines led to a fast break layup for her making the score 6-2. The teams traded turnovers another time, then Bree Hug converted two charity tosses at the 2:44 mark after she was fouled by Madi Myers.
Doehrmann added two freebies herself for Stryker after she was hacked by Rebecca Schroeder, then with 1:48 left in the opening stanza Brittany Haines nailed a three pointer from the right wing, and shortly thereafter Grime hit another trey, this one from the left baseline, to make the score 14-4. Autumn Gruver closed out the first quarter with a trifecta from the right wing to cut the Stryker lead to 14-7.
In the quarter the Lady Panthers went 4-7 from the field, and turned Edgerton over 7 times. The Lady Bulldogs also struggled shooting going just 2 of 9.
The second quarter began with a basket from Hug off an assist from Ally Cape. However, Doehrmann answered with two consecutive buckets, one off an offensive rebound and the other a runner from the left side of the key. Paige Speelman added two more off a sweet dish from Taylor Haines to extend the lead to 20-9.
Gruver sank her second three of the night, this time from the right baseline, to make the score 20-12. Hug fouled Doehrmann on a shot attempt and the junior dropped in both tosses. Cape snatched an offensive rebound to add two more for Edgerton, and Gruver drilled another trey from the right baseline, this time off an inbounds play and the 5-0 run made cut the deficit to 22-17 with 4:00 left until halftime.
Grime was fouled again, this time by Gruver, and she made the second free throw attempt. Gruver made up for the foul with her 4th trifecta of the game, this time from the right wing, leading to a rather rapid time out request from Stryker Mentor Steve Brown.
Immediately following the break, Gruver was assessed with her second foul and headed to the bench. Stryker responded with a 7-0 run on baskets by Anna Stuckey, Doehrmann, and then Stuckey again, this time converting a three point play on a lob pass from Speelman to make it 30-20 with 1:50 left till intermission. With three seconds left Emma Siebenaler powered one up from the left block to send both teams to the locker rooms with the Lady Panthers up 30-22.
Hot shooting aided Stryker in the first half as they went 10-19 from the field and 8-11 from the charity stripe. On the other hand, Edgerton had committed 11 turnovers and went 8-20 from the field. Gruver kept the Lady Bulldogs in the game with her 12 points on 4 shots from downtown.
Stryker emerged from the locker room on fire. The Lady Panthers turned up the heat defensively which contributed to six Edgerton turnovers. The miscues provided many easy buckets for Stryker and led them to a 16-0 run to start the quarter. Before Edgerton realized what had happened they trailed 46-22 with a little over one minute left in the third quarter.
Finally with just 55 seconds left in the period, Siebenaler ended the onslaught. The quarter ended on a mini-run for Edgerton when Cloey Whitman split two defenders to power up a shot with 10 seconds left. The amazing run by the Lady Panthers appeared to have put the game out of reach as they extended the lead to 20 points, 46-26.
As the fourth quarter began, seemingly it was just a formality to complete given the score. However, no one shared that with the Lady Bulldogs. Whitman hit a three from the right wing, but Grime responded with a layup for Stryker. Whitman hit again, this time on a drive from the left side. Next Schroeder drilled a trey from the left wing to cut the margin to 14 points, 48-34, with still 6:18 left.
Speelman was fouled by Flegal and converted both free throws making the score 50-34. Cape responded for Edgerton with a triple from the top of the key. The shot sparked a 13-2 run for the Lady Bulldogs that sent the Edgerton faithful into a frenzy. All of the sudden with 1:53 to play Edgerton had cut Stryker’s once 24 point lead to just 5, 52-47. During the stretch Stryker turned the ball over 3 times and uncharacteristically went 0-6 from the foul line.
With 1:50 left Taylor Haines was fouled by Whitman. However, this time the senior calmly knocked down both shots to quiet the Edgerton crowd, and settler her teammates. However, Cape answered right back for Edgerton with another trey from the top of the key to cut the deficit to 4 points, the closest the game had been since midway through the second quarter.
However, time was of the essence for Edgerton. Doehrmann was fouled by Schroeder and knocked down both tries. Cape fired up another three attempt for Edgerton, but this time it was just off the mark. Grime scored for Stryker off a nice feed from Wonders moving the margin to 58-50 with only 53 seconds left.
Edgerton missed another shot, leaving Schroeder with no choice but to commit her fifth foul on Taylor Haines to stop the clock. Once again the senior floor general sank the pair pushing the lead back to double digits, 60-50, with only 35 ticks left in the contest.
Whitman, who was a force inside in Tuesday’s win, nailed her second three pointer of the quarter with Taylor Haines right in her face. The bucket led to an immediate timeout call from Coach Stark. However, Stryker still maintained a 60-53 lead with the clock in their favor as the scoreboard showed a mere 21 seconds remaining.
Out of the break Stryker struck quickly as Taylor Haines threw a long inbounds pass to Doehrmann who left everyone behind her and put in an uncontested layup leaving no doubt that the Lady Panthers were Sectional Champions, despite the furious fourth quarter rally by Edgerton that saw them put up an incredible 27 points, one more than they had scored the previous three periods combined. Taylor Haines added one final free throw with 1.8 seconds left to provide the final margin of victory, 63-53.
Stryker Head Coach Steve Brown was happy with the win, but gave a lot of credit to both teams. “We challenged the girls at halftime. They came out and had a great third quarter. However, there was no quit in Edgerton. Give them credit. They battled everyone they played the final 10 games or so. The fourth quarter they had was incredible. They made a lot of threes where we felt we played pretty good defense.
Fortunately we made some plays, and especially free throws, down the stretch. We are so proud of our kids and happy for all they have done. It’s a nice win for us. We have a gutty group of players!”
Both teams shot extremely well for the contest. Stryker went a very respectable 20-32 from the field for 63%, with 3 treys. Edgerton shot well also ending 20-40 for an even 50%, including 10 buckets from behind the arc.
The difference in the game was the foul line. Stryker dominated this area going 20-32, while Edgerton made just 3 of 7 tries. The Lady Panthers had a 23-18 rebounding edge, while both teams defensive pressure caused problems. Stryker had 18 turnovers, and Edgerton suffered 20 miscues after having only nine in their Tuesday night contest.
With the win, Stryker ups their record to 20-3, and will take on the 17-6 Antwerp Archers at 6:15 pm on Thursday, March 2, at Archbold HS.
The Lady Panthers were led in scoring by Hailey Doehrmann who dropped in 19 points, while Taylor Haines, who was held to just 3 first half points finished with 17. Emma Grime added 9 points and Anna Stuckey came off the bench with 5 points, all in the second quarter. Seniors Paige Speelman and Kaitlyn Wonders posted 4 points each. Brittany Haines and Madi Myers contributed 3 and 2 points respectively.
Edgerton ends their season at 6-18, but have nothing to hang their heads about as they battled back admirably from a 24 point deficit late in the 3rd quarter and got the as close as 4 points late in the fourth quarter.
The contest was the final one for seniors Brandi Radabaugh, Leiah Fritch, Megan Bowen, Sarah Roth, and Autumn Gruver. Although the five seniors will be missed, the cupboard is certainly not bare for Edgerton as 7 underclassman saw the floor in the contest with 6 of them scoring.
Junior Cloey Whitman proved to be a dual threat offensively scoring 13 points all in the second half, with two trifectas to lead the Lady Bulldogs. Gruver knocked down 4-3 pointers, all in the first half, for 12 points and freshman Ally Cape ended with 11 points, including 3 triples in the fourth quarter. Emma Siebenaler added 6 points and Rebecca Schroeder finished with 5 tallies. Bree Hug and Claire Flegal closed out the scoring for Edgerton with 4 and 2 points correspondingly.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
Edgerton 7 15 4 27 – 53
Stryker 14 16 16 17 – 63
Kent Hutchison may be reached at email@example.com