Anthony Wayne's Sara Zankl, right, and Lima Senior's Stacia Allen chase a loose ball during their Division I girls sectional Tuesday night in Tontogany. Zankl scored eight points in the Generals' loss.
TONTOGANY — Both regular season meetings between Springfield and Bowling Green unfolded with the latter coming out on top in the Northern Lakes League encounters.
So, the Bobcats entered the Division I sectional contest with a slight edge on the Blue Devils.
That didn't seem to matter Tuesday night as Springfield ratcheted up the defense in the fourth quarter to come away with a 52-33 victory against Bowling Green at Otsego High.
Springfield, which will face Perrysburg on Saturday in a sectional final, outscored Bowling Green 24-3 during the final quarter. The Bobcats started the final eight minutes with a 30-28 lead.
Natalie Yoder pumped in a game-high 17 points to lead the Blue Devils (10-13). Sydney Powhida scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half to help Springfield collect its first sectional victory in four seasons.
Lima Senior topped Anthony Wayne 66-46 in the second sectional contest held on the Knights’ home court. The Generals were outscored 22-9 during the third quarter and never recovered from the slow start to the second half.
"That's been the story of our year: Slow starts in the second half of games," AW coach Jeremy Terwilliger said. "Unfortunately, we haven't had a lot of success finishing out games this year."
Jasmine Bonivel and Megan Bedard paced the Generals (13-10) with 10 points each. Lauren Cardinal and Sara Zankl added eight apiece.
Indiya Benjamin finished with a game-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead Lima Senior (14-9), which will face Findlay in a sectional final Saturday. Stacia Allen and Caterrion Thompson scored 12 points each.
In the first district semifinal of the night, Springfield coach Steve Carroll credited the Blue Devils with executing the defensive game plan against the Bobcats.
"We had three goals defensively — get back on defense, stop the ball, and limit their shots," Carroll said.
Bowling Green’s Hanna Williford, left, defends Springfield’s Jewell Rollins in a Division I sectional Tuesday. Springfield avenged two previous losses to the Bobcats with a win.
Haley Glandorff paced Bowling Green with a team-high 10 points. Livvy Dill added nine points and Hanna Williford added eight points.
"You can't fault the kids' effort," Bowling Green coach Jeff Nichols said of the Bobcats.
The Bobcats (13-10) simply turned the ball over far too many times and failed to convert good looks at the basket to make it a trifecta against the Blue Devils (10-13).
"We just didn't step up and make the jumpshots we needed to make," Nichols said. "We missed a lot of layups. They [Springfield] played physical tonight, not saying there were fouls on the shots."
Springfield went 21 for 39 from the foul line while Bowling Green was 9 for 13 on foul shots.
The contest opened with the Blue Devils and Bobcats struggling to make baskets in the first quarter.
Bowling Green ended up closing out the first quarter with a 7-4 lead. Both teams picked it up on offense in the second quarter, and Springfield closed out the first half with a 20-18 lead.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.