By ANDREW WILLIAMS
MOUNT BLANCHARD — Liberty-Benton senior Rachel Myers lived up to her billing Saturday night and broke the school’s career 3-point shooting record in the process.
The Bowling Green State University commit scored 18 of her team’s 26 first-half points and finished with a game-high 36 as the top-seeded Eagles pulled away from Upper Sandusky in the second half to post a 57-42 win in a Division III sectional final at Riverdale.
Myers nailed four 3-pointers to give her 207 for her career, passing the old mark of 205 held by current Ohio State player Cait Craft.
Liberty-Benton, which improved to 20-2 on the season, will face Lima Central Catholic (16-6) in a district semifinal matchup at 8 p.m. Thursday at Elida.
Ottawa-Glandorf (21-2) whipped Bluffton 68-33 in the second sectional final of the evening and advanced to meet Columbus Grove (14-9) in the first district semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Elida.
Myers wasted no time getting started Saturday, hitting a 3-pointer to give the Eagles an early 3-2 lead, and notched 13 first-quarter points as Liberty-Benton held a 17-14 advantage.
“We have some girls that attack the rim, Rachel especially,” Liberty-Benton coach Nate Irwin said. “She did a good job of beating them off the dribble and attacking the rim. We want to be aggressive and attack and I thought we did that well tonight. Even when we weren’t shooting it well from the perimeter, we did get into the paint and got some easy ones.”
Upper Sandusky (14-10) was opportunistic, though, outscoring the Eagles 10-9 in the second to trail just 26-24 at halftime and finished the third quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 41-34 entering the final period.
Sierra Carey had seven key points, while Amber Cox and Taylor Graboski each added five to fuel the Rams early.
“Upper Sandusky played with a lot of energy and I thought we kind of were a little bit lethargic at the beginning,” Irwin said. “We kind of just survived through that first half, had a two-point lead even though I thought we got outplayed those first two quarters. The girls refocused in the second half. It was good to see a refocus and a different, motivated team there in the second half.”
A basket by Graboski got the Rams within 43-36 early in the fourth quarter, but Myers’ drive to the lane with 5:15 to play resulted in Graboski’s fourth foul. Myers hit both free throws to give the Eagles a 45-36 edge and Upper Sandusky would never get any closer.
“I thought our kids came out and played really hard. In the end, we had the foul (on Graboski) and the game got away from us a little bit,” Upper Sandusky coach Brent Fahle said. “There were some key missed box-outs in the second half and turnovers that cost us a little bit.”
Lauren Kotey finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for Liberty-Benton, while Graboski notched 14 points and 11 boards and Carey added 12 points for Upper Sandusky.
In the nightcap, Ottawa-Glandorf didn’t get off to the best start shooting the basketball, but its depth and intensity were the difference as nine Titans played in the first quarter en route to a 16-6 lead.
After missing its first seven 2-point attempts, O-G made 9 of 13 from inside the arc the rest of the half to head into halftime with a 30-19 lead.
“We had wide-open looks, good moves, passing the ball around,” Titans coach Troy Yant said. “We’re hitting people on the backside there on the block, making a nice square-up move and just miss. They kind of press. They want to do everything in one possession instead of just let the game come to them.
“I thought we did a better job in the third quarter of just settling down and letting it happen.”
After halftime, any chance of a Bluffton comeback was quickly deflated as O-G’s deep bench and pressure defense helped the Titans to a 21-10 advantage in the third quarter and a 51-29 lead entering the final period.
O-G closed the fourth quarter with a 17-4 run and had 12 players record a point and 13 notch at least one rebound in the contest.
Elissa Ellerbrock led the Titans with 16 points, while Kylie White and Danielle Schroeder each recorded nine points.
Andi Schmutz dropped in 11 points to lead the Pirates (13-11).
“It started getting away from us the last minute of the first half,” Bluffton coach Eric Garmatter said. “The quickness they had was far superior than us. They’re just so much more athletic than us and they made it very hard for us to get into anything.
“He’s got a lot of depth and there’s not a whole lot of difference between 1 and 10. They didn’t miss a beat at all.”
UPPER SANDUSKY (14-10)
Holly 0-0–0, Calvin 0-0–0, Smith 3-0–6, Johnson 1-0–2, Carey 5-0–12, Cox 2-0–5, Stover 1-0–3, Graboski 6-2–14. TOTALS: 14-48 2-4–42.
Trevino 0-0–0, Kotey 7-0–14, Myers 9-14–36, Lyon 0-0–0, Hiegel 2-0–4, Devincentis 0-0–0, Reynolds 2-0–4. TOTALS: 20-46 14-18–57.
Upper Sandusky 14 10 10 8 — 42
Liberty-Benton 17 9 15 16 — 57
3-Point GOALS: Upper Sandusky 4-13 (Carey 2, Cox & Stover); Liberty-Benton 4-16 (Myers 4).
rebounds: Upper Sandusky 22 (Graboski 11); Liberty-Benton 25 (Hiegel 8).
turnovers: Upper Sandusky 16, Liberty-Benton 9.
Schriner 2-3–7, Hunt 0-0-0, Baker 0-0–0, L. Parkins 0-0–0, Buroker 1-0–2, Fruchey 0-3–3, Barry 0-0–0, Joseph 0-0–0, T. Monday 0-0–0, Schmutz 3-5–11, N. Monday 0-0–0, A. Parkins 0-3-3, Prichard 3-1–7. TOTALS: 9-32 15-23–33.
Verhoff 0-2–2, Maag 1-0–3, D. Ellerbrock 2-0–4, E. Ellerbrock 7-2–16, Miller 4-0–8, Bellman 2-2–6, Basinge 2-0–4, D. Schroeder 3-2–9, Hempfling 0-2-2, L. Schroeder 0-0–0, Rosselit 1-1–3, White 3-3–9, Siefker 0-0–0, Buddlemeyer 1-0–2. TOTALS: 26-59 14-27–68.
Bluffton 6 13 10 4 — 33
Ottawa-Glandorf 16 14 21 17 — 68
3-Point GOALS: Bluffton 0-10; Ottawa-Glandorf 2-10 (D. Schroeder & Maag).
rebounds: Bluffton 22 (Buroker 6); Ottawa-Glandorf 38 (Bellman 8).
turnovers: Bluffton 29, Ottawa-Glandorf 17.
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