FINDLAY — At this time of year when a loss means the end of the road, pressure can oftentimes become overwhelming for some teams.
In the case of Perrysburg, pressure — the full-court defensive variety — proved to be a major asset in posting a 51-33 rout of Ashland to win a Division I district girls basketball championship Saturday at Liberty-Benton.
The Yellow Jackets forced the Arrows into 24 turnovers en route to claiming their second straight district championship and fifth in six seasons.
"This means a lot, and it helps the program," said Perrysburg coach Todd Sims, who has led the Yellow Jackets to three district titles during his four years in charge of the team. "There are a lot of Lady Junior Jackets up in the stands. Why wouldn't you want to play for us? It's a great place to play, and we're very successful, so it's great for us."
Sara Baer scored 15 points to lead Perrysburg (23-1), which will face Notre Dame (23-3) in a regional semifinal Tuesday at Central Catholic. Alexx Brown and Lindy Delong each added 12 points.
Repeating as district champion was clearly a goal for the Yellow Jackets.
"This is just amazing because we were hoping to do better than we did last year," said Baer, a 6-foot-1 sophomore post, who made it tough on Arrows defenders whenever she found herself with the ball near the basket.
The Yellow Jackets took control during the second quarter, outscoring the Arrows 11-1 to take a 23-13 halftime lead.
Perrysburg forced the Arrows into 15 turnovers before halftime, including eight in the second quarter.
"That was huge," Sims said of the second-quarter effort. "Teams that don't play this way it's hard to practice against this defense. It's hard to simulate it.
"It's draining on you, especially mentally. I think they got a little drained, especially when you miss a shot.'
Getting the ball across halfcourt was a major chore for the Arrows.
"That second quarter really took control of the tempo for the rest of the game," Ashland coach Jason Snow said. "I think they realized they could get after us.
"I thought early on we did some good things and got the ball to the basket, but I think the pressure wore us down, and we made a lot of turnovers. They're a good team."
Perrysburg’s Baer, Williams, and Delong spearheaded the pressure, which resulted in the Arrows (13-12) failing to make a field goal in the second quarter.
A free throw by Ashland's Mariah Mansperger with 2:34 remaining in the first half was the Arrows’ only point.
The Yellow Jackets led 17-13 at that moment before closing out the half on a 6-0 run.
Perrysburg came out in the second half and continued to dominate with defense. Ashland had seven turnovers in the third quarter and trailed 42-22 heading into the fourth quarter.
Mansperger scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Ashland. Alexis Stoops added nine points.
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