Down by three on the road at halftime of a key Northern Lakes League girls basketball showdown with Southview, a poised Perrysburg team used its experience to rally for a 47-37 road win on Tuesday night.
The Yellow Jackets trailed 21-19 at the half but outscored the Cougars 16-9 in the pivotal third quarter. Perrysburg senior forward Tori Kopp scored 10 of her game-high 15 points in the key quarter.
Kopp scored eight straight points to erase a two-point deficit with 3:48 left in the third quarter and gave Perrysburg a 34-30 lead with 1:14 left in the third.
The Yellow Jackets (10-2 overall, 8-0 NLL) opened the second half of league play with a hard-fought road win over a young and upstart Southview team (11-2, 6-2).
“In the third quarter we showed our experience,” Perrysburg coach Todd Sims said. “And I think they showed their youth. Tori Kopp had a huge third quarter. It was a great team win. We had a really good third quarter that got us over the hump.”
The Cougars trailed 7-4 after one quarter but then outscored the Yellow Jackets 17-12 in the second quarter. Southview, which has no seniors under first-year coach Kelly Heil, went on a 9-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from junior Elisha Quinn and a bucket inside from sophomore Hayden Kilgore over the final three minutes of the first half and led by three at the break.
Freshman Tialyn King then hit a 3-pointer to put Southview up 24-19 just 35 seconds into the second half. The Cougars then took their biggest lead at 28-23 after a 3 and a free throw from sophomore Lauren Perry with 4:12 left in the third.
But Perrysburg, which defeated Southview 56-51 at home on Dec. 5, then finished the third quarter with a 12-2 run. Senior Kristina DeMarco opened the rally with a 3 pointer. Kopp then stepped up to fill the void left with leading scorer senior Ashlynn Brown on the bench with foul trouble.
Kopp said the Cougars also were double teaming her team's guards.
“We all kind of stepped up. The rest of us had to step up and finish,” Kopp said. “We stepped it up and played well as a team. We passed the ball around and took the shots we needed to to win the game.”
Kopp drained a 3 with 3:25 to go in the third to give the Jackets a 29-28 edge and her jumper with then gave her team the lead for good at 31-30.
“She is very capable of doing that,” Sims said. “She's a really good offensive player. She's hard to guard and she can shoot.”
Kopp also finished with four rebounds. Senior Whitney Thames scored 11, Brown had 10, and DeMarco nine for the Yellow Jackets, who forced 18 Southview turnovers.
“We could have had our heads down at halftime. But we didn't,” Sims said. “We fought all the way to the end.”
Perrysburg forced four turnovers to start the fourth quarter and Southview hit just 1 of 5 shots as the Yellow Jackets seized a 41-32 lead. Brown knocked down 4 of 4 free throws over the final 45 seconds to salt it away.
Perrysburg also finished with a 27-22 edge in rebounding. The Yellow Jackets, who have won three league titles in the last five seasons and five in the last 10 years, were the preseason favorites to repeat.
Southview was picked to finish sixth out of eight teams in the league after posting a 4-20 record (1-13 in the NLL) last season.
“You have to give it to Perrysburg,” Heil said. “They are a tough team. They are disciplined and experienced. We knew it would be a tough game. But I'm proud we fought the whole game. We had a four or five-minute stretch where we didn't score and that's what hurt us. We needed to have less turnovers as well. But we showed we can compete.”
The Cougars were paced by Perry (nine points). King and Halle Barnett each scored eight points.
“From day one until now, we've taken big strides,” Heil said. “We would have loved to have won this game. But it will be a great learning tool for us. The future is bright for us.”
Sims said Southview is much improved and well coached.
“This gives us a two-game lead, which is always nice to have that buffer just in case something happens,” Sims said. “Any win on the road is a great win, but especially against a really good team like that. They are really good now and [wait until next year].”
Kopp said her team knew it would be a tough test on the road.
“But we stepped up and finished it,” she said. “It's a little bit of relief. But it's not over yet. We still have to finish the rest of our games.”
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