By ANDREW WILLIAMS
High school state tournament basketball is all about gutsy performances because on any given night, a team’s season can end if its best players don’t show up and play their best basketball.
St. Wendelin’s Kamryn Troike turned in one of those gutsy showings Wednesday night, dominating her way to 34 points and 22 rebounds on a bad knee as the Mohawks upset North Central Conference co-champion Riverdale 59-43 in a Division IV sectional semifinal at Findlay High School.
St. Wendelin, which improved to 17-5 on the season, will face Arcadia (17-5) Saturday at 8 p.m. for the sectional title. The Redskins blasted Cory-Rawson 57-29 in the second contest of the evening to earn a spot in the title game.
Arlington (15-6) will take on top-seeded Carey (19-2) in the first sectional final Saturday at 6:15 p.m.
Troike, the Division IV District 6 player of the year, got off to a slow start, mainly because Riverdale doubled and sometimes tripled her in the post in the first quarter.
With no post touches for Troike and the Mohawks trailing 1-0, St. Wendelin coach Aaron Smith called a timeout with 5:34 left in the opening period.
“I suggested that they might want to throw it inside,” Smith said. “The problem is, everybody’s pushing and shoving or they have to because she’s taller and the girls think she’s covered. She isn’t covered if you throw it high enough.
“When Kam’s on like she was tonight, we’re a tough team to beat. She got District 6 player of the year for a reason. She’s just a daggone good basketball player. She played hurt. When she’s on the floor, we’re a pretty good team.”
After Smith’s encouragement, the Mohawks got the message and Troike took over, recording a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first half as St. Wendelin took a 28-19 lead into the break.
Despite an inflamed ligament in her left knee which forced her to miss the final two games of the regular season, the 6-foot-3 sophomore didn’t miss a beat once the ball started getting tossed her way.
“My team motivated me to go all out and just give it my all tonight,” Troike said. “We all work together as a team so I think that’s what made us pull out this huge win.
“At first I felt nervous, but then when I started going they kept falling and falling and falling and my teammates just got me the ball when I was open so that helped a lot.”
Second-seeded Riverdale (17-6) struggled from the opening tip, making just 24.5 percent (13 of 53) from the field and getting outrebounded 43-16 in the contest.
A 3-pointer from Taylor Frey cut the deficit to 34-29 midway through the third quarter, but Troike bulled her way to 19 points and 12 boards in the second half as St. Wendelin closed the game on a 25-14 run to pull away down the stretch.
“This is a huge win,” Smith said. “This is as good a win as we’ve had in many a years. Riverdale’s just a really good team. They won their conference. They have excellent coaching. Couldn’t be prouder of the kids. This is just a great team win.”
Allie Rutter turned in 10 points and nine rebounds for the Mohawks, while Jordyn Wright finished with 12 points and Frey Sydney Holderman each netted 11 for Riverdale.
In the nightcap, Arcadia suffocated Cory-Rawson (7-15) with a full-court pressure defense that stymied the Hornets from the opening tip. The Redskins forced the Cory-Rawson into 10 turnovers in the first quarter en route to a 36-7 halftime lead after a 12-0 second-quarter advantage.
Courtney Cramer dropped in 14 of her game-high 25 points in the opening two quarters as Arcadia was 43.6 percent (17 of 39) from the field, while limiting Cory-Rawson to 13 percent (3 of 23) shooting and forcing 15 turnovers over that span.
“We worked pretty hard,” Arcadia coach Randy Baker said. “We moved a little bit quicker today. We covered things up. We were a little more aggressive with our press in the full court in the first half. That helps your offense when you can get stuff in transition or off turnovers.”
The Redskins led by as many as 37 in the fourth quarter before the Hornets were able to close the game on a 13-4 run.
Kiley Scott and Megan Ritter each finished with eight points and Aubrey Von Stein grabbed seven rebounds for Cory-Rawson.
Molly Glick, who entered the game averaging 17.6 points per contest, tallied just eight points as eight different Redskins scored in the win.
“We don’t force the passes,” Baker said.
“Mo lets the game come to her. If Court’s hot, we go that way. We had some other kids step up and hit some shots when they kind of backed off. We tried to take what they gave us.”
T. Wright 2-0–5, Holderman 4-1–11, Parish 0-2–2, J. Wright 3-5–12, Frey 3-2–11, Walter 1-0–2. TOTALS: 13-52 10-16–43.
ST. WENDELIN (17-5)
Williams 1-0–3, Burns 2-0–4, Rutter 3-4–10, McAfee 3-0–6, Mowrey 1-0″”2, Troike 15-4–34. TOTALS: 26-45 6-10–59.
Riverdale 5 14 12 12 — 43
St. Wendelin 10 18 14 17 — 59
3-Point GOALS: Riverdale 7-25 (Frey 3, Holderman 2, T. Wright & J. Wright); St. Wendelin 1-6 (Williams).
rebounds: Riverdale 18 (J. Wright 5); St. Wendelin 42 (Troike 22).
turnovers: Riverdale 5; St. Wendelin 17.
M. Mock 3-2–9, Kieffer 1-0–2, Kirian 2-0–5, Glick 4-0–8, Cramer 12-0–25, Ware 2-0–4, Coward 1-0–2, A. Mock 1-0–2, Ball 0-0–0, Pina 0-0–0, Dauterman 0-0–0. TOTALS: 26-57 2-4–57.
Scott 3-0–8, Burkholder 1-0–2, Ritter 4-0–8, Tuttle 2-1–5, Heldman 2-0–6, Von Stein 0-0–0, Rettig 0-0–0, Galvan 0-0–0, Biery 0-0–0, Holland 0-0–0. TOTALS: 12-45 1-2–29.
Arcadia 24 12 9 15 — 57
Cory-Rawson 7 0 7 15 — 29
3-Point GOALS: Arcadia 3-7 (M. Mock, Kirian & Cramer 1); Cory-Rawson 4-19 (Scott & Heldman 2).
rebounds: Arcadia 34 (Glick & Dauterman 7); Cory-Rawson 26 (Von Stein 8).
turnovers: Arcadia 10, Cory-Rawson 19.
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