By ANDY WOLF
OAK HARBOR — So long, postseason droughts.
Not a single player on Hopewell-Loudon nor Lakota’s girls basketball rosters had experienced a tournament victory.
Their fortunes changed Wednesday night.
Both rolled to decisive victories in their Division IV sectional openers as the Chieftains bested Tiffin Calvert 40-34 before Lakota dispatched Ottawa Hills 35-22 in the second game at Oak Harbor.
Hopewell-Loudon hadn’t won a playoff game since 2012, and Lakota earned its first since 2013.
“I think it’s big,” Lakota coach Cathy Hanek said. “I’m proud of our seniors. They bought into what we asked them to do. Even for our underclassmen, for them to come in and play in a tournament and win is a big deal.”
Top-seeded Hopewell-Loudon (19-4) advanced to meet Emmanuel Christian in a sectional final at 6 p.m. Saturday at Oak Harbor. Lakota (9-14) will face Toledo Christian in Saturday’s second sectional final.
Tiffin Calvert bows out at 4-17.
Just eight days ago, Hopewell-Loudon handed the Senecas a 70-26 loss.
Again, H-L 6-foot-3 freshman MaKayla Elmore was literally a big factor. She totaled game-highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds and was the only player in double figures in either category.
Both teams experienced offensive troubles, but in different fashions.
Outside of Elmore scoring off lob passes, Hopewell-Loudon ran its offense patiently in an attempt to be balanced.
Tiffin Calvert coach Patrick Herron said he didn’t shape his defense any differently with Elmore in mind. Instead, the Senecas often packed in a 2-3 zone.
Collectively, the Chieftains shot 34 percent (16 of 47) and scored fewer points per quarter as the game wore on.
“We were a little bit out of sync,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Bob Gase said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
The Chieftains played their first game without injured senior Bailey Jameson (5-10) who Gase said was their leading rebounder over the past four games. Besides Elmore, only Kyleigh Krupp (five points) made multiple field goals for the Chieftains. Kenadee Siebenaller did chip in seven rebounds while Jacque Burns grabbed five and Olivia Zender had four boards.
Meanwhile, Tiffin Calvert settled for a lot of outside shots.
None swished through as they missed 20 straight at one point, including all nine in the second quarter.
The Senecas were 3 for 33 before Hannah Burns ended the drought with a wide-open bucket midway through the third quarter. Calvert’s Shelby Hemminger, the team’s leading scorer this season, notched her only point on a free throw with 12.3 seconds left.
“Totally different game if we hit a few shots,” Herron said. “I’m proud of the girls. They played well. After getting beat (70-26) and then coming back and playing like they did, I think they did a great job.”
In the second game, Lakota built a 19-6 halftime edge with its active defense and timely shot-making.
“I thought we played really hard defensively,” Hanek said. “Our communication was key for us.”
But the Green Bears made a charge, speeding up the tempo by pressing hard.
The Raiders nearly crumbled.
“You could see it in us, they hadn’t been there,” Hanek said of her players.
Lakota committed eight of its 22 turnovers in the third quarter and went scoreless for more than six minutes. Alexa Gabel converted a putback in the final minute of the frame to halt a 9-0 run by the Green Bears. Ottawa Hills also scored first in the fourth quarter to come as close as 24-19.
Brooke Shank gave the Raiders some more breathing room, scoring on one of her nine offensive rebounds. She finished with team highs of 11 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Three of Shank’s four field goals came off a second-chance look.
Kaityln Mogle scored the next five points unanswered for Lakota, which held Ottawa Hills without a field goal for the final six minutes.
The Green Bears struggled to take advantage of foul-line visits, going 8 of 23 overall and 3 of 10 in the fourth quarter.
Gabel chipped in nine points and five rebounds for Lakota. Mogle and Mackenzie Feathers had six points each.
Sophie Summers led Ottawa Hills with eight points.
TIFFIN CALVERT (4-17)
Brown 0-3–3, Johnson 1-0–3, Prince 2-5–9, Hemminger 0-1–1, Burns 4-0–8. TOTALS: 7-47 9-14-24.
Zender 1-0–2, Elmore 9-4–22, Burns 1-0–2, Pace 1-0–2, Coppus 1-0–3, Krupp 2-1–5, Siebenaller 1-2–4. TOTALS: 16-46 7-8–40.
Tiffin Calvert 4 6 4 9 — 23
Hopewell-Loudon 14 11 9 6 — 40
3-POINT GOALS: Tiffin Calvert 1-13 (Johnson); Hopewell-Loudon 1-5 (Coppus).
REBOUNDING: Tiffin Calvert 27 (Brown & Burns 9); Hopewell-Loudon 39 (Elmore 16).
TURNOVERS: Tiffin Calvert 10; Hopewell-Loudon 16.
Feathers 3-0–6, Shank 4-3–11, King 0-1–1, Gabel 4-1–9, Mogle 3-2–8. TOTALS: 13-44 8-15–35.
Summers 4-0–8, Byrne 0-4–4, E. Westmeyer 1-0–2, A. Westmeyer 2-2–6, Dewhirst 1-0–2. TOTALS: 8-46 6-23–22.
Lakota 8 11 5 11 — 35
Ottawa Hills 4 2 11 5 — 22
3-Point GOALS: Lakota 1-6 (Mogle); Ottawa Hills 0-8.
rebounds: Lakota 31 (Shank 10); Ottawa Hills 36 (Byrne 11).
turnovers: Lakota 22, Ottawa Hills 25.
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