DEFIANCE – Neither team shot the lights out of the gym, but Pettisville caught a little fire in the second half and their defense held down Antwerp for a 32-17 win to claim a Division IV girls basketball sectional championship Saturday at Defiance.
“I think Sami Tilley made two or three plays early in the second half that kind of set that tone,” said Pettisville coach Jason Waldvogel, referring to the senior forward’s defense. “When we play really well on defense, that usually turns into offense. I think she (Tilley) was a big part of it. And then, I think the rebounding was a huge difference for us too.”
The contest was tied at 6 near the end of the opening quarter, then Pettisville’s Morgan Leppelmeier scored to give the Blackbirds an 8-6 lead after one.
In the second stanza, the Blackbirds added two free throws from Tilley and a made jumper by Kendal Pursel. They shot just 5 for 17 in the first half for a 29 percent effort from the field.
Antwerp converted just 1 of 2 free throws from Heather Oberlin in the second period and trailed 12-7 at the half. The Archers shot 3 of 19 in the first half for 15 percent.
Pettisville had its most success on the afternoon using a zone defense.
“We are mainly a man-to-man team, but we mixed it up,” explained Waldvogel. “Nichole Foor was injured earlier in the year, so it limited our bench a little bit. We did play them a little more zone. Yeah we played it (zone) probably more in the second half of the year than what we did the first.”
Mikayla Graber got the scoring started for Pettisville to begin the second half with a jumper 22 seconds in. Antwerp would answer with baskets from Chelsea Johanns and Oberlin to cut it to 14-11 at the 5:41 mark.
However, the Archers were limited to one point the rest of the third quarter and six more for the game.
Leppelmeier put the Birds back on the board with a jumper, then Elizabeth Beck got hot from beyond the arc. The junior hit back-to-back triples, opening up a 22-11 Pettisville advantage past the halfway point of the third.
Antwerp answered with 1 of 2 from the foul line by Rachel Williamson, Brandi Schnitkey hit a pair for Pettisville, and Foor scored inside for the Birds. Beck buried another three with time running down in the period to extend their lead to 29-12 after three.
“She is so capable of doing that,” said Waldvogel of Beck’s ability. “She is probably one of our best shooters. She gets in those streaks, and she just continues to believe in herself.”
Leppelmeier notched the final three points for the Blackbirds in the fourth as the Archers could not get back into the game.
Beck and Leppelmeier led the Birds with nine points each. Oberlin had nine to pace the Archers.
Pettisville (13-10) now moves on to the district tournament at Archbold where they will take on top-seeded Wayne Trace Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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