Perrysburg's Mollie Whitacre goes in for a steal of the ball from Lima Senior’s Indiya Benjamin during the first half of Thursday’s Division I district semifinal. The Yellow Jackets won, 79-64.
THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
TONTONGANY — Lima Senior simply couldn't match the inside presence and one-two punch of Perrysburg's Sarah Baer and Allex Brown in a Division I district semifinal on Thursday.
Baer and Brown each recorded double-doubles to help the Yellow Jackets advance to the district final with a convincing 79-64 win over the Spartans.
Baer finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds in the semifinal at Otsego. Brown had 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“It's amazing playing with her,” Brown said. “We have a twin sensibility. We know where we are going to be and what we are going to do. It works out really well.”
Perrysburg finished with a 38-23 edge on the boards. The Yellow Jackets pulled down 13 offensive rebounds.
Baer, a 6-foot-1 junior, also had two blocks along with several assists inside to Brown, a 6-1 sophomore.
“It's awesome playing with her,” Baer said. “We connect really well. We have little plays we run and it's fun.”
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Sophomore Lindy DeLong finished with 12 points for Perrysburg (22-1). The Yellow Jackets advance to face Ashland on Saturday, 2 p.m. at Liberty-Benton.
Perrysburg seized a 29-17 lead after one quarter and never trailed. The Yellow Jackets dominated on the boards to build a 45-27 lead at the half. They held a 23-9 edge on the undermanned Spartans, who have just one player that is 6-foot.
“They made some mini runs at us but the reason they couldn't get over the hump was because of our rebounding, [especially] offensive rebounds,” Perrysburg coach Todd Sims said.
Lima Senior (15-10) was led by Satcia Allen (20 points), Indiya Benjamin (16), Caterrion Thompson (15), and Essence Cowan (12).
Allen had four 3-pointers for Lima Senior, which finished with nine 3s.
Each team employed a full-court press throughout the game. The Yellow Jackets had several easy transition baskets and offensive rebounds after breaking the Spartans' press.
“We have speed and we have good athletes,” Sims said. “We ran and scored [29 points] in the first quarter.”
Baer, who scored her team's first six points, had 14 points and eight rebounds in the first half. Baer had a block that led to DeLong's traditional three-point play on a transition basket for a 13-2 lead at the start.
“I thought this was one of the best games we've played so far,” Baer said. “We hustled as hard as we could.”
Brown completed an old fashioned three-point play to give the Yellow Jackets a 25-12 lead with 1:55 left in the opening period.
“They are excellent. They dominated inside,” Sims said.
Perrysburg went on an 11-0 run to increase an eight-point lead to 19 points in the second quarter.
Lima Senior pulled to within 11 points with back-to-back 3s but Baer answered with a long jumper. Baer dished to Maddy Williams who found Mollie Whitacre open under the net to reestablish a 15-point edge.
Williams finished with nine points.
Abby Sattler, who had eight points, hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth for a 20-point cushion.
Perrysburg finished the regular-season ranked No. 8 in the final state poll.
“It's a great experience with these girls,” Brown said. “We expect to go for a long run. We are so ramped up.”
Last year, Perrysburg won a district championship, beating Mansfield Senior to make it to the regional semifinal. The Yellow Jackets then lost to Notre Dame.
“I don't want the season to end because I love these guys,” Sims said. “They are so much fun to be around. They are so competitive and we want to keep rolling as long as we can.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.