In a game that was defined early by aggressiveness, and maybe even a little sloppiness, poise became vital for the Ottawa Hills girls basketball team.
Instead of panicking, the Green Bears simply gathered themselves together and focused on the task at hand — wiping out a second-half deficit.
Ottawa Hills kept its calm and used the clock to its advantage in the final minutes of a 50-42 win over Cardinal Stritch.
“That’s a huge thing,” Green Bears guard Allison Dewire said. “There’s so much time on that scoreboard. You don’t think about it, but you can get to the end of a play in two seconds. So you’ve just got to keep calm, you’ve got to use up the time, because that’s precious.
“We had to keep our poise.”
In a Toledo Area Athletic Conference game Thursday at Ottawa Hills, the Green Bears went 8 for 29 from the floor in the first half and trailed by nine points early in the second half. The Green Bears cut the Cardinals’ lead to 36-32 at the end of the third quarter and tied the game twice within the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
“Once we started moving the ball around and passing it more, things started clicking,” said Dewire, who scored eight of her team-high 13 points in the third quarter. “When we’re all on the same page, we work very well.”
Then, after tying the game at 40 on Kelsi Berry’s basket with 4:15 left in regulation, the Green Bears closed out the game on a 10-2 run by slowing down the pace of their offense and coming through at the free-throw line. In that stretch, the Green Bears went 4-for-6 on free throws — after going 4 for 11 in the first three quarters.
“In the second half, and in the fourth quarter, that was when we started passing to each other and talking,” Dewire said. “We came out and we were a second-half team this time, but hopefully we’ll come together and be a first-half team, and finish it at the end.”
Ottawa Hills’ bench also provided a suitable reinforcement for its starters in the second half. The Green Bears had eight players come off the bench, including Abigail Dewire, who scored seven points in the fourth quarter.
“We have 14 people on our team, and so many people on the bench, we still don’t even have a starting five yet,” Allison Dewire said. “We’re still trying to work out people’s strengths, like who works well together. But we’re learning.”
Cardinal Stritch took a 9-6 lead over Ottawa Hills after the first quarter, holding the Green Bears to 3-of-15 shooting in the first, then took a 26-20 lead at the half, breaking a 20-20 tie with 1:33 left in the second quarter.
Abby Mass led the Cardinals with 16 points, while Cecelia Gozdowski added 12.
“They played harder than we did,” Cardinals coach Terry Murnen said. “In the fourth quarter, we didn’t do the things that got us the lead.
“We gave one away.”
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: email@example.com, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.