Big Blackbird comeback beats Delta


By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor



In a tale of two halves, Delta used white hot three point first half shooting to take a 14 point halftime lead, but after halftime, Birds coach Jason Waldvogel turned to a triangle-and-two defense that held the Panthers to just nine second half points as the Blackbirds came from behind to beat Delta 52-48.

“We did some things in the second half we never even tried before (being the triangle-and-two),” said Waldvogel. “It was nice to see the girls listen at halftime and make the adjustment on the floor. We were losing people in the first half, especially their best shooters. We made some other people try to make plays for them in the second half and it worked to our advantage.”

The two shooters Waldvogel referred to were Abby Freeman and Maddie Mattimore, who roasted the Blackbird perimeter over and over again as they combined for 32 first half points, 20 by Freeman.

Freeman and Mattimore nailed seven first half three point goals as Delta shot 14 of 26 from the field overall, taking a 39-25 lead into the locker room.

Meanwhile, the Blackbirds’ senior point guard Alexa Leppelmeier picked up two quick fouls in the first three minutes and was saddled on the bench for the rest of the half.

Sophomore Morgan Leppelmeier kept the Blackbirds within the same zip code, scoring 13 first half points.

With Alexa Leppelmeier back on the floor in the second half, momentum shifted almost immediately.

Morgan Leppelmeier scored six straight points on a pair of floaters in the key and 2 for 2 from the foul line around a pair of Delta turnovers, then Nichole Foor scored on a reverse face-up move in the key to get Pettisville within 39-33 at the 3:13 mark of the third.

“We talked about getting the 50-50 balls,” explained Waldvogel. “I think we did that in the second half and our rebounding especially Nichole Foor really was good. They had a lot of second half possessions where they went one-and-done.”

What was a high octane Delta offense in the first half, didn’t score until Emily Clifton got a stick-back with 2:58 left in the quarter. But, that was answered almost immediately as Lynnsey Crouch scored on an out-of-bounds play that turned into three point play, shaving the Panther lead to 41-36.

Alexa Leppelmeier nicked the Panther lead by one point more when she weaved her way through the Panther defense, going coast-to-coast after a rebound before the end of the third to slice the score to 42-38 heading into the fourth.

Pettisville started the fourth with a three-point salvo of their own as Elizabeth Beck hit from the left side, chopping the Panther lead to 42-41 19 seconds into the fourth, and Alexa Leppelmeier nailed one from the left corner 35 seconds later to give the Birds their first lead of the game at 44-42.

Freeman scored her first points of the half on a drive, then a left wing jumper around a Sami Tilley offensive rebound score to tie the game at 46 with 4:01 left before the older Leppelmeier took over.

First she scored on a backcut from foul line to hoop to put the Blackbirds back on top, then after a series of curl cuts through the key, scored on a one-hander going to the rim to give the Birds a 50-46 lead with two minutes left.

“She’s capable of that, “said Panther coach Ryan Ripke. “I’ve seen her do that now for three years. She came off the bench and was really solid for them as a sophomore and now this year she’s running the show and obviously they are a different team with her on the floor.”

After a series of missed opportunities at both ends that ended in two missed front end of one and one’s for the Blackbirds and a missed layup and turnover for the Panthers, Freeman and Mary Miller each split a pair from the line to get Delta within two, 50-48, before Morgan Leppelmeier hit both ends of the bonus with nine seconds left to seal the game.

“We didn’t have an answer for the triangle-and-two in the second half,” said Ripke. “I mean that pretty much says it all. When they started clamping down on Abby and Maddie, we just didn’t have an answer for that.”

Freeman’s 25 led all scorers and Mattimore had 12 more for Delta, however, Freeman’s five fourth quarter points were the only ones scored by the pair in the second half as Delta shot 3 for 18 from the field the last 16 minutes.

Morgan Leppelmeier’s 21 led Blackbird scorers as Pettisville shot 50 percent from the floor (10 of 20) in the second half.

Pettisville is now 2-0 on the young season, while Delta falls to 0-2.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor

Reach Joe Blystone at fcesports@civitasmedia.com

Reach Joe Blystone at fcesports@civitasmedia.com