Rogers’ Keyanna Austin steals the ball from Bowling Green’s Hanna Williford during a Division II district semifinal game. Williford scored a game-high 26 points.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
The Rogers and Clyde girls basketball teams will meet in the Division II district championship on Saturday after both registered wins on Thursday night.
Clyde thumped Central Catholic 70-53 in the first district semifinal at Perrysburg High School. Rogers then held off a pesky Bowling Green team 71-68 in the second semi.
Rogers (21-4) was tested by a tenacious Bowling Green (13-12) team until the final buzzer. The Bobcats had a chance to tie the game with 23 seconds left but could not get a shot off.
The Rams’ one-two punch of Akienrah Johnson and Sasha Dailey stepped up at different times. Johnson scored 15 of her team-high 21 points in the first and fourth quarters. Dailey produced 11 of her 17 points in the third quarter.
Bowling Green senior guard Hannah Williford scored a game-high 26 points. The Bobcats’ Tyanna Smith chipped in with 19 points, while Kendal Glandorff finished with 12. Smith also had six rebounds.
Bowling Green trailed by four at the half and by six after three quarters. Williford came up with a steal and scored in transition to pull the Bobcats within one point with 46 seconds left.
But Johnson drained two free throws for Rogers with 44 seconds left to extend it to three points. BG then could not set up a good look at 3 and ran out of time.
The Bobcats committed 21 turnovers.
“Our defensive pressure picked up,” Rogers coach Lamar Smith said. “We told the girls during the timeout that defense is going to win this game. The young ladies stepped up and played very good defense on a crucial possession.”
Williford knocked down a big 3 with 5:45 left but Dailey had an offensive rebound and putback with 1:15 left.
“We stood toe to toe with them,” BG coach Jeff Nichols said. “We could have shriveled up. But we made them play 32 minutes of ball. I teared up in the locker room telling the girls how proud of them I am.”
Every time Rogers attempted to build a large cushion, BG battled back. The Rams’ Keyanna Austin drained a 3 when BG had pulled within two points late in the third quarter.
Rogers finished with a 31-20 edge in rebounding and forced 14 turnovers in the first half when the Rams built a large enough lead.
“They are a well coached team and they wouldn’t go away tonight,” Smith said. “We made runs but they came right back and hit some big shots. But this is tournament time. I figured it would be a game like this to test our girls to see where our heart was.”
Nichols said he had hoped to hit a game-tying 3, but Rogers switched up its defense over the final seconds.
“We wanted to run it down as far as we could and then look for a 3 and then if it was locked up, go for the old-fashioned three. Our kids couldn’t pull the trigger,” Nichols said. “Our kids stepped up and played hard. Rogers has a solid team. But I don’t know that they knew they would have to play this hard tonight.”
Central (17-8) gave No. 4 ranked Clyde (24-1) a good test in the first half of the first district semifinal. The Irish led 19-16 after the first quarter. Central then held a 26-25 edge in the second quarter before the Fliers went on a 12-0 run and never looked back.
Clyde senior forward Amanda Cahill, who will play next season at Indiana University, scored a game-high 32 points. Cahill also grabbed 13 rebounds. Kelsey Michaels finished with 20 points.
Central was led by Byrdy Galernik’s 17 points. Alex Matus tallied 11 points and Michelle Murnen added 10 for the Irish.
Cahill had 20 points and Michaels had nine for the Fliers at the half as they took a 37-28 lead. Michaels then opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer. Clyde then built a 22-point lead on Cahill’s 3-pointer with 1:32 left in the third quarter.
“I thought right up to the end we played hard,” Central coach Marty McGurk said. “We had some lapses where we got caught up watching Cahill. We had shots that we wanted people shooting but they just didn’t make them. If we hit a few shots, maybe we make them play with some pressure. But they are a very good team.”
Rogers was knocked out of the tournament last season by Clyde 61-53 in the regional finals. The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday at Perrysburg.
“I’m excited to be playing Clyde on Saturday,” Smith said. “We’re ready for the challenge and I’m sure they are. Clyde is a tough team. It will be great for girls high school basketball.”