The “Valley” has reached the peak of the Toledo Area Athletic Conference.
Maumee Valley Country Day School’s girls basketball team completed a rags-to-riches story that would make even Horatio Alger blush by claiming a share of the TAAC title on its home floor Thursday. The Hawks used a 16-point second-half run to claim a 42-31 win against Danbury.
Maumee Valley Country Day's Maya Francisco, right, is embraced by her teammates after the Hawks won a share of the Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship with Thursday's win over Danbury.
The result gave Maumee Valley an 11-3 mark in TAAC action and a share of the school’s first-ever league crown in girls basketball. It also was a fitting climax to the four-year careers of seniors Ella Foster and Emma Daugherty, who were honored prior to their final home game.
PHOTO GALLERY: Maumee Valley 42, Danbury 31
As freshmen, Foster and Daugherty played on a team that did not win a single game.
“Not only did they not win a game as freshmen, their sophomore year, we had zero juniors and zero seniors,” Maumee Valley coach Terri Herrmann said. “We played a varsity schedule with freshmen and sophomores — and we took it on the chin.”
Foster finished with 13 points to tie Shannon Herrmann for team scoring honors for Maumee Valley (13-9), while Daugherty added 12. And Foster said the league title vindicated those early struggles.
“We would try, but there wasn’t a question of winning — it was blowout after blowout,” she said of her first two seasons. “Now, winning the TAAC is just an insane feeling.
“We’ve grown so much after that winless season, and we’re so happy.”
Erin Uhinck scored 14 points to lead Danbury (13-9, 10-4), which finished one game behind the Hawks and Toledo Christian for the title.
Maumee Valley’s title-clinching game had a forgettable start as the Hawks made just one basket in the first period while missing 10 shots and turning the ball over four times.
“It was a bit worrisome,” Terri Herrmann said of the slow start. “When the other team jumps out to a lead, it’s easy to hang your head.
Maumee Valley Country Day's Ella Foster, holding the trophy at left, and Emma Daugherty (24), bring the Toledo Area Athletic Conference girls basketball trophy back to their teammates after beating Danbury Thursday to earn a share of the title.
Blade/KATIE RAUSCH Enlarge
“But this team has fought through that all year.”
The good news for MVCDS was that Danbury did not take advantage of those struggles. The Lakers turned the ball over seven times in the opening period and managed just six points of their own.
“When we got a lead, we would try to do too much,” Danbury coach Dick Heller said. “And instead of building up the lead by a few more points, they stayed even – and then they came back.
“You let them gain some momentum, some confidence, and it’s hard to stop them.”
Maumee Valley made its first three baskets of the second quarter to jump back into the game, and after that neither team led by more than two points. Daugherty’s driving layup with 18.5 seconds left gave the Hawks a 15-13 halftime advantage — and some momentum.
“At halftime, the girls decided they were going to win the third and fourth quarters,” coach Herrmann said. “They created some offensive and defensive goals, and they went after it — and got it done.”
The Hawks were poised to carry a narrow three-point lead into the final quarter after forcing a Danbury turnover with less than three seconds left on the clock. But Shannon Herrmann took a rolling inbounds pass, dribbled two steps past half-court, and launched a desperation shot.
When the shot banked in at the horn, Maumee Valley led 28-22.
“That was insane — they weren’t guarding her, so there was no reason not to shoot it,” Foster said. “When it went in, that really got us going.
“We felt as if we could do anything. But we knew it wasn’t over.”
The Hawks took steps to put the game out of reach, though, scoring the first eight points of the final quarter to lead 36-22. The Lakers, who went almost six minutes without scoring a point, could come no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
“They were taking good shots,” Heller said of his team’s scoring drought. “When you miss a few shots in a row, everybody tenses up. We’re not relaxed, shots don’t fall – and it snowballs.
“And at the defensive end there’s a letdown because the shots aren’t falling, and it can get out of hand. And we couldn’t come back.”
The result was vindication for the Maumee Valley program after absorbing all those lumps three seasons ago.
“We knew where we were going, and where we wanted to end up,” coach Herrmann said of those struggles. “They knew that, with patience and dedication and hard work, what could happen.
“And it came true. It’s extremely sweet for these seniors.”
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