VANDALIA – For the second time in school history, the Kettering Alter Lady Knights are headed to the state basketball tournament.
Alter (23-3) punched its ticket to Columbus Friday night with a 49-37 win over Girls Greater Cincinnati League rival Dayton Carroll (20-6) at Butler High School in the Division II Vandalia Regional Final.
It was a tale of two halves as Carroll took a 21-19 lead into the locker room at halftime as the first half saw seven lead changes. But Alter came firing outscoring the Lady Patriots 17-6 in the third frame sparked by a Nicole Christie three-pointer out of the break.
“The third quarter was obviously the difference in the game,” said Alter head coach Christina Hart. “Nicole hitting that three coming out of the locker room gave us a big lift.”
Carroll’s starting point guard Shante Jones picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter forcing her to the bench with three fouls. With Alter on a run, Jones returned to the game but almost immediately picked up her fourth foul and had to take a seat again.
“In the tournament, (Jones has) been averaging 20 points per game and not having her out there hurts us offensively and defensively,” Carroll head coach Rob Berry said.
Alter seniors Christie (8), Courtney Chihil (17) and Meghan Waterman (6) combined for 31 points.
“Courtney stepped up and she has been stepping up all tournament and every time Meghan was on the floor and had the ball in her hands, she was giving us a lift to the basket,” Hart said.
“All three seniors got us back to where we wanted to be and that was the difference.”
Said Chihil, “We just figured this is our last chance and we really wanted to make it to state. We talked about it before the game with all the girls and we needed to step up.”
Carroll senior guard Brogan Berry paced the Lady Patriots with 13 points and post Megan Lange netted eight.
Alter and Carroll split the regular season match ups 1-1.
“We know each other well and we scout and we have seen (Carroll) play 11 or 12 times this season. That is a lot,” Hart said. “We really feel like we know them and they know us and that is why it is a low-scoring game.”
Alter last made the state tournament in 2002 losing to Columbus Mifflin 58-50 in the state semifinal game. The Lady Knights will take on that same Mifflin (21-3) team at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at Ohio State's Jerome Schottenstein Center.
The Division II state championship game is at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, March 8.
“It is a lot of work (to get to the State tournament) and I am just thrilled for the team,” Hart said. “I am really proud of them and happy for them.”
Said Chihil, “It is indescribable. We’ve worked so hard for this and it is good to know it has finally paid off.”