FINDLAY — Leipsic's Haley Gerten pumped in a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Vikings to a 43-38 overtime victory Saturday night over Patrick Henry in a Division IV girls basketball district final at Liberty-Benton.
Gerten's final 3 came in OT to break a game tied at 38. The wide-open look from the baseline for Gerten ultimately put an end to the Patriots' season.
Kelsey Tietje paced PH with a team-high 14 points. The Patriots (23-2) displayed plenty of heart by climbing back from 15-point deficit in the first quarter.
However, the slow start for PH wasn't exactly how Patriots coach Joe Pennington would have preferred his team to come out against the Vikings (17-8), a team they defeated only a couple weeks ago.
“Our girls have never quit all year,” Pennington said. “We've been behind before in games and have come back and won some of those games.
“I would've liked to have had a better start. We came back, but it may have taken too much out of us.”
Yet, the Patriots had their chance to win in regulation. With the score tied at 33, Kristin Bostelman couldn't sink a midrange shot with less than a minute in the game.
“She's a three-year starter and has the green light and has hit that shot many times,” Pennington said of the 5-8 junior guard. “That one just didn't go in.”
Leipsic's final shot attempt of regulation was also off the mark to send the game into the four-minute extra period.
The Patriots' slow start allowed the Vikings to take hold of the momentum at the outset.
Amber Gerdeman, who finished with 13 points, scored seven of Leipsic's first nine points and gave the Vikings a 9-2 lead when she sank a 10-footer with just under three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
It became 11-2 when Gerdeman swished another mid-range jumpshot just behind the free-throw line with 2:25 left to play in the quarter.
She finished the quarter with 11 points to lead Leipsic to a 13-2 advantage after one period.
Tietje scored the Patriots' only basket in the first quarter.
Trying to stop Gerdeman from scoring was only half of the Patriots' troubles early in the game. They struggled to generate any offense against the Vikings zone defense.
The Patriots fell behind 20-5 to the Vikings with less than five minutes remaining in the first half and appeared on the brink of a complete collapse before halftime.
However, the Patriots responded by going on an 11-0 run to finish out the rest of the half and trailed by just four at the break.
Torey Rosebrook capped the spurt by grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back up for a basket with only one second remaining in the half to make it a 20-16 halftime score.
Tietje, PH's 6-foot-3 senior, led the Patriots in the first half with six points, despite receiving full-time double-teams whenever she roamed near the rim.
Gerten had six points in the first half for Leipsic.
The Patriots came out in the second half playing with more confidence and began the third quarter on a 7-3 run. Lindsey Meyer tied the score at at 23 when she received a crosscourt pass from Katy Hammer for a fastbreak layup with 3:25 left in the quarter.
But PH couldn't take the lead and Leipsic closed out the quarter with a 5-1 run to take a 28-24 edge into the fourth quarter.
PH actually took its first lead when of the game when Bostelman made a pair of foul shots after coming up with a steal and getting fouled on a layup attempt. She sank both free throws to give the Patriots a 30-28 lead.
— Donald Emmons