for the usually sharp-shooting Centerville Elks girls basketball team. So when the Trotwood-Madison Rams sent Centerville to the line
16 times in a Division I sectional tournament game Wednesday, it didn’t
seem like such a bad idea. The Elks, though, regained their form in
time to fight off the Rams 41-40 at Troy High School’s Trojans Athletic
TROY — In its previous two games, free throws had been anything but that for the usually sharp-shooting Centerville Elks girls basketball team.
So when the Trotwood-Madison Rams sent Centerville to the line 16 times in a Division I sectional tournament game Wednesday, it didn’t seem like such a bad idea. The Elks, though, regained their form in time to fight off the Rams 41-40 at Troy High School’s Trojans Athletic Center.
“Until the last two games of the season we shot about 70 percent,” said Centerville coach Adam Priefer, whose team entered Wednesday hitting 17 of their last 31 attempts for 54 percent. “The last two games have really killed us.”
On Wednesday, free throws saved them. Senior Caitlin Beals sank a pair of tosses with 1:37 left to give No. 8-seed Centerville a 41-37 lead. Beals went 9-of-10 from the line. The Elks were 14-of-16 as a team.
“I’m happy we scored a lot of free throws because lately we’ve been missing and struggling,” said Beals, who led the Elks wiwh 15 points. “It was nice hitting key free throws.”
The 9th-seeded Rams, who missed a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left, had several other chances to score the final minute. A steal led to a 3-point attempt that bounced off the back of the rim with 20 seconds left, and the Rams missed on two more shots. Sydney Potter’s line-drive 3-pointer at the buzzer was good for the final score.
“We played good. Centerville played good,” said Trotwood coach Johnny Vance. “If we had about two more seconds we could have done something.”
Centerville (14-8) plays No. 3 Kettering Fairmont (17-5) in the sectional final at 2:45 p.m. Saturday. The Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division foes split the regular season. Fairmont won on its home court 35-32 on Dec. 19, while Centerville did the same 49-41 on Jan. 19.
On Wednesday, the Elks led the entire first half — thanks to a 9-0 run to start the game — and led by as many 10 in the first quarter. But the Rams cut the deficit to 22-19 at the half.
Trotwood’s own run to start the third quarter gave the Rams (13-8) their first lead. Hannah Tyson, Rianne Thornton, India Taste, Potter and Amber McCann all scored in a 10-2 run that put the Rams up 29-24 midway through the third. Centerville responded with Abby Glover and Grace von Maluski. Glover scored twice inside, von Maluski had a couple baskets and free throw to provide a spark off the bench and Beals sealed it with her free throws. Centerville never led by more than four points in the fourth.
“We’ved played like this all year. I’m not entirely too nervous,” Priefer said.
The game had a similar ending to the Elks’ 35-34 win over the Rams on Jan. 30.
“It gets us really pumped up,” Beals said of the tight win. “It gets us ready for the (sectional final) because we know (Fairmont is) going to take it to us hard and same with us.”
A Trotwood team hampered by injuries had to do it again Wednesday. Senior point guard Jazmone Worthman tore her ACL in the final 30 seconds of the Rams’ sectional opener.
“We missed her floor leadership,” Vance said. “We didn’t have a lot of reserve players with that experience. She would have been running the offense and seeing those mismatches.”
Trotwood finished with 19 turnovers overall, but seven proved costly in the fourth quarter. Centerville had 12 turnovers. The Rams also enjoyed a 23-15 edge in rebounds. But the Elks overcame that with their 14 points from the free-throw line to the Rams’ one.
“We had a run of about five or six bad turnovers in that fourth quarter. Just bad turnovers,” Vance said. “We’ll bounce back, though.”