BRYAN – Pettisville girls basketball built a 15-point halftime advantage and held off a third quarter run from Ayersville to defeat the Pilots 34-22 and claim the sectional title in Division IV Saturday at Bryan.
“I thought we came out and played really well that first half. And Ayersville probably could have packed it away a little bit, but they came out storming and we struggled with them the second half,” said Pettisville coach Jason Waldvogel of the game.
Leading by one late in the first quarter, Alexa Leppelmeier’s three-pointer with 51 seconds to go gave Pettisville a 9-5 lead after one.
Then the Blackbirds put on an offensive clinic in the second stanza.
Nichole Foor scored first for Pettisville with a putback hoop, then after Ayersville’s Ashlee Tressler hit a pair of free throws, Pettisville’s Sami Tilley scored inside and also added a triple which put them up nine at the 3:29 mark.
Elizabeth Engel hit a jump shot for Ayersville at the 2:57 mark, but a pair of triples by Alexa Leppelmeier and a deuce from Morgan Leppelmeier made the score 24-9 at intermission. Alexa Leppelmeier’s second triple came with just two seconds left in the half.
“Against the zone, they are aggressive and we knew that we had to move the basketball a little bit,” said Waldvogel on the keys for his team’s offense. “The girls did that, and they waited until they got the breakdown and got the shot. And we hit shots early on.
“Second half they went to the man-to-man (defense) and we’ve got some kids that can handle the basketball a little bit. I think we took a little bit of time off the clock and that helped us out too.”
The Blackbirds were limited to a Tilley putback in the third quarter as they got outscored 6-2 by the Pilots in the frame.
Four straight points from Elizabeth Engel got Ayersville going in the third, then Amanda Addington’s putback off two missed free throws from Meghan Engel cut Pettisville’s lead to 24-15 with 2:38 left.
A Tilley putback after a pair of misses from the foul line by Pettisville put the difference at 11 heading into the fourth.
“They are fighters,” said Waldvogel of Ayersville. “And that starts with coach (Craig) McCord. I’ve coached against him years ago and I know what type of a guy he is. And I knew they were gonna battle the whole entire game.”
Tressler split a pair of free throws with 6:09 to go to keep the margin at 11, 29-18, but the Birds only increased their lead from there.
Morgan Leppelmeier added a pair from the line, then after Meghan Engel’s putback, she hit two more and Alexa Leppelmeier split a pair which made it 34-20 with 36 ticks left. Meghan Engel got another bucket 11 seconds later to close out the scoring.
Alexa Leppelmeier and Morgan Leppelmeier each finished with 10 points, while Tilley added 9 for the Blackbird offense. Meghan Engel paced the Pilots with 8.
Pettisville (18-5) will take on Hicksville Thursday in the district semifinal at Archbold. Tip-off is set for approximately 8 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010