Down by as much as 15 points in the third quarter, Pettisville managed to cut Hicksville’s lead to one in the final frame before Katelynn Berenyi’s bucket in the closing seconds helped seal it for the Aces, 43-39, in the Division IV girls basketball district semifinal Thursday at Archbold.
Pettisville scored first to begin the third quarter as Morgan Leppelmeier knocked down two free throws to make it 21-18, however, the Blackbirds were outscored 14-5 the rest of the quarter.
Back-to-back baskets by Hicksville’s Addison Bergman, deuces from Alexis Kerns and Ashley Peter, and a steal and score for Harlee Shuman extended the Hicksville lead to 31-18 with 2:08 left. Morgan Leppelmeier ended the streak with two more free throws, but consecutive buckets from Peter bumped the Hicksville lead to 15 before an Alexa Leppelmeier trey made it 35-23 after three.
The Birds continued to fight in the fourth as Morgan Leppelmeier notched seven points and Sami Tilley also scored around 1 of 2 free throws for Berenyi, getting them within four at the 3:53 mark.
The Aces increased their lead back to six, 40-34, with 2:02 to go, but a pair from the foul line by Alexa Leppelmeier and a Elizabeth Beck three cut it to 40-39.
“That’s what this team’s been about,” said Pettisville coach Jason Waldvogel of his team’s refusal to quit. “I can’t say enough about the total team. Especially the seniors. That’s where it starts.
“They are leaders from within and they knew they had to keep up with it.”
Pettisville had a chance to take the lead at around the one minute mark but Addison Bergman got a piece of Nichole Foor’s shot. The Aces then went down and Berenyi converted a layup, giving them a three point lead with 31 seconds to go.
After a Blackbird miss, Berenyi was sent to the foul line where she missed a pair, however, the Aces snagged the rebound. Addison Bergman hit 1 of 2 free throws to equal the final tally.
Hicksville won the rebounding battle 32-24.
“The offensive boards that Hicksville had killed us,” said Waldvogel. “We didn’t do a great job of keeping them off the boards and giving them those extra looks. They shot the ball fairly well.”
Addison Bergman had 6 points and Morgan Leppelmeier 4 for Pettisville as Hicksville led 12-8 after the first quarter.
Hicksville’s Katelyn Bergman made a shot to begin the second, Kerns added a third try putback, and Katelyn Bergman followed with a triple to put the Aces up 11 2:36 in.
Tilley answered the bell for the Birds with a triple of her own, then Morgan Leppelmeier scored off a well executed screen, Beck hit a three but Addison Bergman’s basket inside put the margin at 21-16 at the half.
Pettisville shot 32 percent (13 for 40) from the floor, 29 percent (5 for 17) from three-point range, as Morgan Leppelmeier led the way with 17 points.
“Some of these kids (it is) their first time at districts. They were a little tight,” said Leppelmeier of his team’s shooting woes. “But, you know, they took the shots. That’s all I can ask from them. They wanted the shot and took it, and sometimes they don’t fall.”
Hicksville shot 40 percent (17 for 42) from the floor. Addison Bergman finished with 11 points and Peter had 10.
Hicksville moved on to defeat Stryker in the district final, 44-39.
Pettisville closes the season with a record of 18-6.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010