Southview showed Central Catholic last night in a Division I sectional final it can deliver a good punch as well as withstand a knee-buckling blow.
The Cougars - ranked No. 2 in the state - showed plenty of mettle in remaining undefeated by fighting off the Irish for a 56-53 victory at Clay High.
Liz Tansey and Mandi Lisk led a balanced attack by scoring 12 points apiece while 3-point specialist Jackie Freesen came off the bench to add 10 points, including three 3-pointers. Jessica Hausfeld added nine to help the Cougars raise their school-best record to 22-0 while advancing to a district semifinal meeting with Scott on Thursday night at Clay.
Scott secured a trip by outlasting City League rival Notre Dame en route to a 47-45 overtime victory.
Southview coach Todd Bostater watched Central fight back from a 17-4 first-quarter deficit to make it a nailbiter down the stretch. Yet, Bostater credited his veterans for handling the pressure.
"We've got a ton of seniors and two- and three-year [letter-winners] on our team. In close games they've been able to pull through," Bostater said.
Mallory Strall paced Central with a game-high 19 points while Ellen Herman added 14 and Sharise Calhoun had 10.
The Irish, who trailed by double digits for the better part of three quarters, put a scare to the Cougars and came within a foul shot of tying the game within the final five seconds.
Central's Ashley Frazier, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, made 1 of 2 foul shots to trim the Cougars' lead to 54-53 with 4.4 seconds left. However, Tansey rebounded Frazier's missed foul shot and was fouled and went on to nail two foul shots with 2.6 ticks left.
A desperation heave by Central's Danielle Lewis from beyond halfcourt was off the mark as the final buzzer sounded.
"It was an exciting game," Bostater said. "Jackie Freesen came off the bench and hit some big shots for us."
Before the Irish realized what hit them the Cougars had bolted out to the early 13-point advantage with Tansey and Lisk leading the surge. Tansey and Lisk combined for 11 of Southview's points in the opening quarter and Central found itself in an uphill climb the rest of the night.
Nevertheless, Southview was tested by the Irish's full-court pressure defense. The Irish forced the Cougars into seven turnovers during the second quarter and went into halfttime trailing, 27-17. Herman scored on a layup in the waning moments of the third quarter to make it 40-31.
In the first game, Miesha Blackshear scored seven of her game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bulldogs attack. Precious Hands added nine points while Shanice Sample finished with five points and a team-high 10 rebounds to help Scott defeat Notre Dame by two points for the second time this season.
Notre Dame's Patrice Lalor had an opportunity to tie the game at the end of overtime, but her 10-foot jumper coming off an inbounds pass was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
"It's always a hard-fought battle when we play against them," Scott coach Darrell Dorn said. "It's always a tough game."
Sample put back an offensive rebound to give the Bulldogs a 46-45 advantage with 1:56 left in the extra period and Scott (15-5) never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
"In a lot of ways this was probably the best game we've played from beginning to end," Notre Dame coach Rhett Boyd said. "We didn't have any lulls from an effort standpoint or from an execution standpoint."
"I don't think you can pick any point in the game and say that was the difference, except they made one more shot than we did."
Lalor and Kristen Kerscher paced the Eagles with 12 points apiece. Mallory Myers had 11.
After trailing 23-22 at the half, Scott returned to the court on a mission. The Bulldogs opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run and led 29-23 when Sierra Jordan found her way to the basket with 2:08 left in the quarter.
Lalor finally ended Notre Dame's drought when she grabbed a long defensive rebound, dribbled down court and knocked down a 10-footer to make it 29-25 with 1:16 left in the quarter. The Eagles closed out the quarter with a 5-0 spurt to trail 31-28.
They outscored the Bulldogs 7-0 to open the final quarter and take a 35-31 advantage. But the Bulldogs battled back.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com or 419-724-6302.