Wadsworth in Suburban League girls basketball action Saturday. At 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the SL, the Bulldogs have the unusual
distinction of being an SL team other than Wadsworth not to hold first
place. Unusual because Wadsworth has won 12 consecutive SL titles.
WADSWORTH – Tony Whitmer had tears in his eyes. Amanda Rose had a grin that stretched so wide it probably hurt.
Both were emoting for the same reason: Green’s 59-56 win over Wadsworth in Suburban League girls basketball action Saturday night.
“I can’t even describe the feeling,” said Rose, a senior forward. “It’s so great.”
At 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the SL, the Bulldogs have the unusual distinction of being an SL team other than Wadsworth not to hold first place. Unusual because Wadsworth has won 12 consecutive SL titles. The Grizzlies (4-2, 3-1) have won the league title every year since 1991 except one.
It’s why Whitmer was a bit emotional on the heels of the victory.
“They’re like my kids,” he said, tears welling. “I’m crying because my kids almost quit in the third quarter and then Logan (Pastor) finally said ‘screw that’ and hit a couple shots and they all came back together.”
Green trailed by eight points in the fourth quarter when Pastor, a 5-foot-8 freshman heated up. She scored seven of her game-high 17 points in a three-minute stretch that saw Green wipe out the lead. Her 3-pointer with 3:20 left tied the game at 50.
“She doesn’t play like a freshman,” Rose said. “We were waiting for her to have her break-out game.”
The Grizzlies came back to lead 54-50 with 1:24 left. Senior Kaitlin Schultz answered with a 3-pointer to pull Green within a point.
Rose then stole the ball and was fouled, but missed both free throws. She made up for the misses by grabbing the rebound.
“I missed them and I knew we needed the ball,” said Rose, who finished with 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Her rebound started a scramble that ended with Green sophomore Deanna Wheeler on the foul line. She made both shots for a 55-54 lead.
Wadsworth answered with a lay-up by senior point guard Chrissy Pavlik with 16 seconds left. Another scramble led to two more Green foul shots. Senior Lauren Pruneski calmly sank both ends of the one-and-one for her only two points and Green led with eight seconds left.
Wadsworth turned the ball over on its ensuing possession and Wheeler made both shots for the last of her 12 points to close the scoring, setting off a wild celebration among the Bulldogs and their fans.
“Every year we’ve come close,” Rose said. “It’s indescribable the way this feels right now.”
When Rose says every year, she means it. It was the Bulldogs’ first win over Wadsworth since the 1993 season. Nobody was sure of Green’s last win on the Grizzlies’ court.
Wadsworth, which hadn’t lost an SL game since 2005, had plenty of chances to extend that streak. The Grizzlies shot themselves in the foot in numerous ways.
“Green did their stuff better then we did our stuff,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “We had the game in hand late in the fourth quarter with the people we wanted on the floor.”
It wasn’t so much the fourth quarter the hurt the Grizzlies as lack of execution throughout. Poor play explains how a team shoots 51 percent (22 of 43), out-rebounds the other team 29-18 loses
Defensive breakdowns allowed Green to move out to an early eight-point lead. On several possessions the Bulldogs beat Wadsworth’s pressure over the top for lay-ups.
“We were watching people run by us,” Booth said. “We were just very sloppy defensively in our execution.”
The Grizzlies got things together in the third quarter, when a 19-4 run gave them a 43-36 lead. That could have been bigger, were it not for severe foul-shooting problems.
Wadsworth made just 7 of 20 free throws, compared to 11 of 15 for Green. Coupled with 27 turnovers (Green had 19) and the defensive breakdowns, the Grizzlies let the Bulldogs stay in the game.
“Coach told us that from the beginning of the game the little things can make the difference and they did,” said Wadsworth senior Britt Busson, who had a standout game with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists before fouling out late. “It wasn’t the beginning or the end. It was the whole game.”
Old Dominion signee Rachel DeMita added 12 points for Wadsworth, which also got nine points from Pavlik, eight from Lindsay Tenyak, seven from Steph Hicks and six from Robyn Rotterschmidt.
Tenyak and Sam Pecnik had seven assists for the Grizzlies, who had assists on 17 of its 22 field goals, an indication of how crisp their offense was at times.
Green, meanwhile, just made plays when it had to. The Bulldogs didn’t shoot as well (22 of 53 from the field, including 2 of 13 on 3-pointers) or rebound as well – until they had to.
Now they’ll have to again. They’re in first place. And they’d like to stay there.
“I’ve been through this before, they haven’t,” Whitmer said. “It’s time for me to step up. I’ve got to get them ready and refocused.”