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ONTARIO, Ohio — Rogers missed out Friday night at booking a trip to the Division II state championship tournament in Columbus.
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The Rams simply missed too many shots against undefeated Clyde in a Division II girls basketball regional final.
Rogers made only 22 of 64 shot attempts (34 percent) against Clyde, which improved to 27-0 after scoring a 61-53 victory before an enthusiastic crowd at the Ontario High School.
Clyde advances to the state tournament and will meet Hathaway Brown in a state semifinal on Thursday.
"We missed quite a few shots that we normally make," Rogers coach Lamar Smith said. "Sometimes you have that. The girls were a little off tonight but we made our run and I thought we were going to take it over.
"We just came up short."
The Fliers, led by 6-foot-1 junior center Amanda Cahill, who tallied game highs of 26 points and 19 rebounds, controlled the second half after coming out after the break with the score tied at 28-28. They went up by as much as eight points in the third quarter before the Rams (22-4) fought back and actually took a 53-52 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Akienreh Johnson scored on a fastbreak layup off an assist from Cha'Ron Sweeney.
However, Johnson's basket with 4:17 left in the game were the last points the Rams would score the rest of the way and the Fliers, who shot 21 of 47 from the field (45 percent) closed out the contest with a 9-0 run. Clyde was 6 of 13 beyond the arc (46 percent).
Sweeney, the Rams' 5-foot-2 senior guard, gave it her all in trying to lead the Rams. She scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. She also registered team highs of seven assists and four steals.
However, Sweeney sank only 7 of 23 shot attempts, including a 3-for-13 effort from behind the 3-point arc.
"We just couldn't get the shots to fall," said Sweeney, who is headed for Eastern Michigan University and the Rams’ only senior this season.
Marquelle Williams, a 6-2 junior, was the only other Ram to score in double figures, finishing with 12 points on a 6-for-8 shooting night.
Sasha Dailey and Keyanna Austin added nine points apiece for the Rams. Austin, who provided a spark coming off the Rams bench by making three 3-pointers in the game, said she believed the Rams' season was positive, despite the loss to Clyde. "This year we played together and we got better," Austin said.
Clyde coach John Cahill said they entered the contest emphasizing putting pressure on the Rams perimeter shooters and wanted to play steady against the Rams defense. The Fliers were guilty of 14 turnovers while the Rams committed only seven.
"I thought we took care of the ball and got good shots and the kids played with courage," the Fliers coach said. "I can't be more proud of our kids. They did a lot of things well.'
Besides having a tough shooting night against the Fliers zone defense, the Rams also had trouble defending against the Fliers' top post player, Amanda Cahill, the coach's daughter. She showed why former Bowling Green State University coach Curt Miller has already received a verbal commitment from her to attend Indiana University in 2014.
"We knew it was going to be tough and she hurt us," Smith said, of Cahill. "I told our post players, 'you have to get stronger in the offseason,' because where she [Cahill] hurt us was under the basket."
Kelsey Michaels helped Clyde's cause, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine boards.
Rogers seemed in control early when Sweeney swished a 3 pointer to make it 25-17 with 4:15 to play in the first half. However, Clyde steadily pecked away at Rogers' lead and Michaels made a pair of foul shots to tie the score at 28-28 with under two minutes to play before the break.
The momentum favored the Fliers late in the first half and seemed to carry over into the second half.
"We just came up short tonight but I'm very proud of what the girls accomplished this year," Smith said. "We'll work hard and we'll try to get back here next year."
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