STRYKER – Visiting Pettisville fell behind early and could never recover as the Lady Blackbirds dropped a 40-35 contest at Stryker Tuesday, putting the hosts in first place in the Buckeye Border Conference girls basketball race.
Stryker took the lead it would never relinquish with a 9-0 run to end the opening stanza.
Taylor Haines started the run for the Lady Panthers with a score off a Pettisville turnover. Paige Speelman added a score from the backside on an inbound play, then Brittney Haines hit a triple off a ball that was saved out of bounds and added two free throws as Stryker led 11-6 at the end of the opening period.
“We were at a pace where we weren’t confident in what we were doing,” stated Pettisville coach Jason Waldvogel. “Their aggressiveness put us in a panic.”
Taylor Haines opened the second period with a knockaway steal and score to push the advantage to 13-6 before Lynnsey Crouch ended the drought on a pass from Brandi Schnitkey.
Stryker outscored Pettisville 8-3 over the final 5:18 of the period to lead 23-11 at the half.
“We played kind of panicked in the first half,” said Waldvogel. “We just weren’t playing like we normally do. Give credit to Stryker for that.”
Pettisville made a couple runs, but could never take the lead in the second half. Down 27-15 after Haley Doehrmann sank two free throws for Stryker, the Birds countered with an 8-0 run. Schnitkey tallied six points in the run – four from the charity stripe – plus Alexa Leppelmeier dribbled through the defense for a basket.
Just when it looked like things were starting to go Pettisville’s way, Brittney Haines hit a trey at the 1:14 mark of the quarter to make the score 30-23 at the end of the third.
“I thought we did a good job,” Waldvogel said of the play of his team in the second half. “Give them credit, they hit big shots when they needed to. We had a few turnovers that were just bad timing.”
The Birds had one more opportunity to take the lead in the final stanza, and again they needed a run to get back in the game. Stryker led 35-26 after Brittney Haines dropped in her fourth triple in the game, but Pettisville answered with a 7-0 run.
Schnitkey picked up a basket to get the run going, then Morgan Leppelmeier hit the front end of a one-and-one. Alexa Leppelmeier added two free tosses and Morgan Leppelmeier scored after Stryker missed the front end of a one-and-one to make the score 35-33 with 41.7 seconds left.
Taylor Haines stepped up and canned two free tosses for Stryker, but Morgan Leppelmeier was able to quickly score from the baseline to keep the game at two points, 37-35, with 30 seconds left. Pettisville even had the basketball with 16 seconds left, but their inbounds pass off a timeout was stolen away.
Taylor Haines was able to go 3 for 4 from the line down the stretch to make the final 40-35.
Schnitkey led the Birds with 10 points. Alexa Leppelmeier added 9 and Morgan Leppelmeier had 8 points. Brittney Haines paced Stryker with 14 points. Taylor Haines added 11 points.
Pettisville was 12 of 36 shooting and committed 17 turnovers. Stryker was 13 of 37 from the floor and had 11 turnovers. Pettisville won the rebounding battle 30-22.
Pettisville (5-1, 3-1 BBC) has another league game Friday when they host Hilltop.
Reach Randy Roberts at email@example.com