WILMINGTON — Greeneview’s girls high school basketball team had things going their way.
Midway through the third period, the No. 1o seeded Rams were nailing their outside shots while slicing through Williamsburg’s defense. It put them out in front of the sixth seeded Wildcats by 14 points.
Then they stopped being aggressive, and it cost them big time.
Williamsburg outscored the upstart Rams 29-10 the rest of the way to rally for a 62-57 win, Tuesday Feb. 21, in the Division III sectional semifinals at Wilmington High School.
“It’s tough, because we try to get those shots all the time. … I just think we stopped being aggressive at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth. We were in the 1-and-1 bonus, but we only went to the free-throw line a handful of times. Credit Williamsburg though. Their defensive adjustments worked. I thought we still had good open shots, they just weren’t falling down for us like they were in the first half and in the beginning of the second,” Rams coach Tim Hoelle said.
Greeneview sank seven 3-pointers in the first half to muster a 39-33 lead at the break. They converted two 3-point tries the rest of the way. The Rams earned a 1-and-1 bonus situation for themselves (when Williamsburg committed its seventh foul of the half) with two minutes yet to play in the third. They converted 4 of 9 free throw tries the rest of the game.
Frankie Fife led the Rams (14-8) with a game-high 20 points, despite having four fouls in the final minutes. Greeneview teammate Faith Strickle was saddled with three fouls, but still finished with 17 points. Kenzie Harding finished the night with eight points and senior Sabrina Saunders scored seven.
“You’ve gotta keep the pedal down, and keep pushing things, but I think we settled for a lot of jump shots in the second half,” Hoelle said. “It’s a learning experience we’ve just gotta learn from.”
Saunders and Jacquie Hall played their final games for the Rams.
“They’ve been with us for four years, so they both know how we feel about them,” Hoelle said.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, first-year Williamsburg coach Mick Madsen shouted “Not four years in a row, gals! NOT four years in a row!” in reference to the last three times the Wildcats had played Greeneview in the postseason — and lost.
“Greeneview is a very good team. They’re well-coached and they can shoot the ball. … I’m just happy with this win. It’s a survive and advance type of thing. I’m just happy that we’re moving on, especially for my seniors who really wanted to finally get a win over these guys,” Madsen said.
The Williamsburg coach said subs Leslie Engle, Calie Brown and Hope Schaljo gave his ‘Cats the defensive boost of intensity his team needed in the second half. “We wouldn’t be moving on without them,” he said. “They came up big when we needed them the most.”
Alexis Chase led Williamsburg with an 18-point night, and Emily Brown finished with 13.
With the win, Williamsburg set the school record for most wins in a season by a boys or girls team. The Wildcats, now 21-3, will face top-seeded Cincinnati Summit Country Day in the sectional final. That game is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at Wilmington High.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.