By ANDREW WILLIAMS
GIBSONBURG — Arcadia coach Randy Baker has been coaching basketball for 31 years and with that experience, comes the ability to stay calm when the game tightens up.
“I’m too old to get excited anymore,” he said with a laugh.
His team feeds off that calmness too. Although the Redskins went 4 of 11 from the free-throw line in the final 1:07 of the game Thursday night, they were able to gut out a 54-51 victory over Toledo Christian in a Division IV district semifinal at Gibsonburg.
Arcadia (19-5) advanced to meet Carey (21-2) for the district title Saturday at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils blasted Danbury 72-20 in the first semifinal of the evening.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate the last few years,” Baker said. “We get in this situation and we’ve played in front of a lot of people like this before in our run we had last year to the regional finals.
“We’ve got really great fans. We win ball games, they like watching us play and they follow us. The kids have been in this situation before. We’ve had a lot of close games this year and they know what it takes to hopefully, play and pull a game out in those situations.”
A basket by Maddie Mock, who finished with a game-high 20 points, gave the Redskins a 50-40 lead with less than three minutes to play.
Rebecca Kirian stepped to the line with 1:07 to play and missed the front end of three separate 1-and-1 opportunities, before Molly Glick missed both of her attempts with 42.1 seconds left to keep the score at 50-45.
“It makes it a little nerve-wracking for me on the bench when that happens but teams get like that,” Baker said. “We’ve got some good shooters here, but it’s just one of those days. It happens, you’ve just got to get tough and play through it.”
A pair of Camille Gist 3-pointers sandwiched around a 1-of-2 showing at the line from Courtney Cramer put the Redskins ahead just 53-51 with 8.7 seconds to go in the game.
Cramer grabbed an inbound pass and got fouled, converting 1 of 2 with 4.8 seconds to play to make it 54-51. A 3-point attempt from the Eagles didn’t fall, though, and the Redskins prevailed.
Arcadia held a 28-24 halftime lead, despite Cramer and Glick ending the half with only three points each. Mock had 16 in the opening two quarters and the Redskins got contributions from others while Toledo Christian (17-7) concentrated most of its attention on the Redskins’ leading scorers.
“We made some shots when we had to,” Baker said. “We had to step it up on our defense too, which helped. It’s a team win. Everybody’s got to step up. If somebody gets in foul trouble, somebody else has got to come in and contribute. It’s to the point now where everybody’s got to step up and we kind of did that tonight.”
Cramer finished with 10 points and Glick grabbed nine boards for Arcadia. Gist and Darian Westmeyer both tallied 18 points each, while Faith Johnson added 10 for Toledo Christian.
In the first game of the night, Carey dominated from the opening tip.
The Blue Devils ran out to a 36-3 lead with less than two minutes to play in the first half and held a 43-10 advantage at halftime behind 11 points from Ali Rymer and 10 from Sydney Wentling.
Danbury (14-11) went more than 13 minutes during the first and second quarter without a field goal. Alyx Perram’s basket with less than 30 seconds to play before halftime ended the drought, but by that time, the Lakers trailed 41-8.
“They’re a great team,” Danbury coach Joe Fetzer said. “We knew that was a possibility. We’ve seen them multiple times and they’ve done that to a lot of teams they’ve played. They’re a great rebounding team. If they miss a shot, they’re getting another one and another one and maybe another one.
“They’re quick, they’re aggressive. We did not handle it very well. My hats off to them. They’re an excellent, excellent team.”
The Blue Devils had a balanced attack, with 11 players scoring and 11 recording a rebound in the contest.
They were 47 percent (8 of 17) from 3-point range, while outrebounding the Lakers 39-18 and forcing 20 turnovers.
Carey was also able to get deep into their bench late in the game too, and give valuable minutes to reserve players.
Rymer finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and Wentling added 13 for the Blue Devils. Perram and Megan Stephens each netted six points to lead Danbury.
“It was important for us, especially, to establish some momentum on the defensive end,” Carey coach Phil Vaughn said. “We feel like if we can get stops, maybe that will get us into some early offense, fast-break points.
“We’re a balanced team. We don’t run iso plays for anybody. We just run offenses and I think anybody that has a shot, that they know the best shot, takes it.”
Mitchell 0-0–0, Perram 1-4–6, Stephens 3-0–6, Rhodes 0-0–0, E. Lavelle 1-1–3, K. Almendinger 0-0–0, A. Almendinger 0-0–0, Ritterbach 1-0–3, Wright 1-0–2, Adams 0-0–0, K. Lavelle 0-0–0. TOTALS: 7-31 5-12–20.
Kin 2-1–5, Bash 1-0–2, S. Wentling 4-2–13, M. Wentling 2-1–6, Worst 0-0–0, Hall 2-0–5, Hoepf 2-0–6, Putnam 0-0–0, Allison 1-0–2, Rymer 6-3–15, Johnson 4-1–9, Craig 1-0–2, G. Wentling 0-0–0, Draper 2-2–7. TOTALS: 27-59 10-12–72.
Danbury 3 7 4 6 — 20
Carey 20 23 14 15 — 72
3-POINT GOALS: Danbury 1-13 (Ritterbach); Carey 8-17 (S. Wentling 3, Hoepf 2, M. Wentling, Draper & Hall).
REBOUNDS: Carey 39 (Rymer & Johnson 9); Danbury 18 (E. Lavelle, A. Almendinger & Wright 4).
TURNOVERS: Danbury 20, Carey 11.
Mock 9-0–20, Kirian 3-2–8, Glick 3-1–7, Cramer 3-2–10, Dauterman 2-1–5, Ware 2-0-4, Coward 0-0–0. TOTALS: 22-39 6-14–54.
TOLEDO CHRISTIAN (18-6)
Westmeyer 7-4–18, Draper 1-0–3, Kempton 0-0–0, Johnston 0-0–0, Salsbury 0-0–0, Gist 7-0–18, Johnson 2-5–10. TOTALS: 18-48 9-13–51.
Arcadia 16 12 14 10 — 54
Toledo Christian 17 7 12 15 — 51
3-POINT GOALS: Arcadia 4-6 (Mock & Cramer 2); Toledo Christian (Gist 4, Johnson & Draper).
REBOUNDS: Arcadia 28 (Glick 9); Toledo Christian 23 (Westmeyer 9).
TURNOVERS: Arcadia 13, Toledo Christian 9.
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