Lady Cougars finish second in home tourney
Centre gave Marion a run for its money Saturday in the girls’ championship game of the Centre Cougar Classic.
Centre coach Alan Stahlecker focused the defensive effort on controlling Marion’s Kourtney Hansen at the basket.
“We did a pretty good job except in the second quarter,” Stahlecker said.
That quarter made the difference, as Marion outscored Centre 27-19 in the first half but scored just 10 points in the second half, compared to Centre’s 15.
Centre trailed 32-23 at the end of the third quarter but took advantage of Marion’s stall tactics in the fourth quarter and came back to take a 34-32 lead on a 3-pointer by Katie Marler. Several earlier steals led to a basket and two free throws by Kelsey Hett and two baskets and two free throws by Kate Basore.
The game was tied, 34-34, with 1½ minutes remaining. Marion made three free throws in the final two possessions, handing Centre a 3-point loss.
“I was very pleased with the patience and toughness we showed in working our way back into the lead,” Stahlecker said. “It was another tight championship contest in the history of the Cougar Classic.”
Scorers included Basore, 16; Hett, 8; Shelby Pankratz, 4; and Emily Schlesener and Katie Marler, 3 each.
After defeating Wakefield in the first round, 37-27, the girls defeated Solomon on Friday in the semifinals, 37-28.
Centre led 22-12 early in the third quarter, but Solomon came back to tie the game at 22-22. The Lady Cougars pulled ahead in the fourth quarter to win by 9 points.
Summer Espinoza and Hett led scoring with 9 points each.
The Lady Cougars now have a record of 8-4.
After defeating Herington, 68-43, in the first round, they lost to Elyria in the semifinals Friday and in overtime to Rural Vista on Saturday, finishing fourth.
The game against Rural Vista was the second match-up in eight days. Centre defeated Rural Vista by 6 points in the first game.
The Cougars trailed most of the game, but came from 11 points behind in the third quarter to tie it at the final buzzer. Deines made 3 baskets and a free throw, Cody Svoboda made 2 baskets, and Espinoza made a basket and free throw to close the gap.
Overtime was close all the way. Espinoza’s 2-pointer was met with a basket by Rural Vista. With 1:15 to go, Rural Vista scored, but Deines scored at the other end to keep the game tied. However, Rural Vista made 3 free throws in the final minute, handing Centre a disappointing 3-point loss.
“Rural Vista played a great game,” coach Richard Idleman said. “We struggled out of the gate offensively, though it remedied itself. Our defense is something that the team takes a great deal of pride in. I’m very proud of the heart our team has and displays.”
Elyria was hot from beyond the arc, scoring 9 3-pointers. Centre trailed by 10 points in the first quarter before Cole Srajer made a trey. Xavier Espinoza made a basket and Dylan Deines added a 3-pointer, but Centre trailed 21-8.
The Cougars came within 10 points in the third quarter, but Elyria ran away with it in the fourth, winning 67-43.
Srajer scored 52 points in the tournament, followed by Deines, 40, and Svoboda, 24. Svoboda led in rebounds, with 22, followed by Espinoza, 17, and Deines, 11.
Centre’s record now is 9-3.
Both teams have the week off and will play at Solomon on Tuesday.