FOSTORIA - After shooting 50 percent from the floor in the first half, Elmwood made just four shots from the field in the final two quarters as the Royals fell in a Division III district semifinal last night.
Elmwood led after the first quarter and was still within a point with just over four minutes to play. But Collins Western Reserve finished the game with a 10-0 run to take a 50-39 win.
"We got within a point, but we couldn't get a shot to go down," Elmwood coach Doug Reynolds said. "We just couldn't get over the hump in third or fourth quarter. Maybe it was the pressure of the game."
Western Reserve (17-5) advances to face Liberty-Benton in the district final here on Saturday. The No. 1 ranked Eagles knocked off a feisty New London team 68-54 in the second game.
Elmwood trailed by two at the half after hitting 10-of-20 from the floor. But the Royals missed their first seven shots of the third quarter and made just two buckets as they fell behind 36-30.
"They gave us few open looks," Reynolds said. "All year we prevented other teams from scoring, and they did that to us tonight. It came down to pressure. The kids have to make decisions in just a split second."
After hitting half its shots in the first two quarters, Elmwood then made just 4-of-15 from the floor (27 percent).
Still Elmwood closed within 40-39 with 4:01 to play. The Royals went on a 6-0 run as Ryan Rothenbuhler hit a jumper and came up with a steal. Ben Hammer and Dustin Reynolds converted two free throws each.
But Elmwood would not score a point over the rest of the contest. The Roughriders' Matt Rennert, who led all scorers with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer, came up with a steal and hit a free throw as his team went on its own 6-0 run.
"We made zero mistakes in the second half," Western Reserve coach Chris Sheldon said. "We did a respectable job on defense in the first half and we did a great job in the second half."
Junior Preston Shank led the Royals with 12 points, but they all came in the first half. Senior Dustin Reynolds, who came into the game averaging 18.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, scored nine and had seven rebounds.
"Our entire defensive package was to keep it away from their post players," Sheldon said.
Shank scored five unanswered points, including a 3-pointer, to give Elmwood one of its last leads, 22-21, late in the first quarter.
"Shank stepped up in the first half," coach Reynolds said. "But you have to keep moving against a defense like that."
Reynolds praised his son Dustin and two other seniors, Rothenbuhler and Cory Stewart, for establishing a tradition. Elmwood won three straight Suburban Lakes League titles under the trio's guidance.
"The three seniors that led us have set the standard," he said.
Reynolds joked that his son was probably relieved that he won't have to listen to him anymore.
"He's been great as a son and as a player," he said. "Now he won't have to listen to me anymore. He'll do a real good job at the college level. He's ready for the next step. As a dad I can see that."
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