All three 37th District girls basketball seed games came with the usual intensity.
All three teams have tried to win with tenacious defense and balanced scoring offensively this season. The final battle had the Scott Eagles travel across the Licking River to face the Bishop Brossart Mustangs needing the win to take that top seed in the district tournament and earn a berth into the 10th Region Tournament. On the other side, Brossart needed to win to force a draw for that top spot and members of the Campbell County Camels attended the game hoping for a Brossart win for the same reason.
Brossart (19-8, 1-1) took the lead for good with 6:45 left in the second quarter. But the game stayed in doubt until the final seconds as the Mustangs built two 15-point leads in the third quarter and held off the determined Eagles (12-11, 1-1) for a 53-51 victory. The Brossart win forces a draw as each team finished 1-1 in district seed play winning their home games. The three district seed games were determined by a combined seven points.
“We’ve lost a couple close ones this year and I think that probably helped us,” said Steve Brown, Brossart head coach. “We kind of handled some situations better than we did early in the year. We had a two-point loss at Pendleton County, a two-point loss to Campbell County. Even that situation going to overtime against Cincinnati McNicholas (a 67-65 home loss Saturday) helped us. We have six seniors and they all played really as hard as they could go.”
A big difference in this game came at the free-throw line. Bishop Brossart made 11-of-17 and Scott made just 6-of-13.
The Mustangs shot the ball better from the outside making six three-pointers to three for Scott. Senior guards Bella Rowe and Jill Planeaux led the way scoring 14 and 13 points, respectively. Senior forwards Molly Kramer and Cora Bertsch gave Brossart inside scoring with nine and eight, respectively.
“We’ve played many close games to prepare for this so I think we were ready to work as a team,” Planeaux said. “We’ve been in this situation before so we knew what to do, handle it correctly and stay calm and patient with the ball. We’ve all been playing together for four years, so we’re all very comfortable with each other and the coaches. I think that shows in our games how well we finish with the ball.”
Sophomore guard Kaia Peterson led the Scott comeback attempt with 16 points. Scott’s leading scorer in senior forward Kayla Overman scored above her average with 13 points and senior guard Ava Coleman scored 10.
“That’s what I told them this game was going to be,” said Eric Pouncy, Scott head coach. “It was 32 minutes. You can get the biggest lead you want in these games. But until that final buzzer goes off, you never know what’s going to happen. This and playing Campbell, I don’t know what it is. But the fight those kids get once you tell them it’s a game of runs, stuff is going to happen like this.”
Brossart led 12-10 after one. After Peterson scored to tie the game 15 seconds into the second quarter, Kramer scored and Rowe hit a three to give the Mustangs a 17-12 lead. Two Bertsch scores gave Brossart a 23-15 lead. Then after an Overman offensive putback, Planeaux scored and Kramer hit a free throw to give Brossart a 26-17 halftime lead. Scott had two chances to make it closer at halftime, but could not convert.
Brossart sophomore Zoee Meyers hit a three for the first bucket of the second half. Rowe hit another three pointer with five minutes left to extend the margin to 36-21. After Scott cut the lead to 11, Brossart sophomore guard Kaitlyn Kramer had a steal and score to extend that lead back to 15 at 40-25 with 1:55 left.
But Scott started to press full-court midway through the third quarter. The Eagles finished the quarter with a 7-0 run led by four points from Coleman to trim Brossart’s lead to 40-32.
“We came out and Brossart missed four of five lay-ups in a row. We have to take advantage of that because when we do it, they’re going to try to do the same exact thing,” Pouncy said. “We work on free throws every day. One day, we’ll shoot 90 percent. The next day, we’ll shoot 35-45 percent. The last few days we’ve honed in on missed lay-ups because we’ve missed way too many these last two-three weeks. We’ve not got in a groove. The way you practice lay-ups has to be the same as game speed. Then we use the pads a lot just making contact with the girls as they’re going up for the lay-ups as they’re going full speed.”
Scott continued to chip away in the fourth quarter. Down 51-43 with 1:15 left, senior guard Autumn Ponder hit a three and Kaia Peterson hit a jumper in the left post with 22.7 seconds to make it 51-48. After a Brossart travel, Overman drew a foul and hit one of two free throws to make it 51-49 Brossart.
Scott fouled sending Rowe to the free-throw line for two. Rowe calmly sank both of them with 11 seconds left to put Brossart up 53-49.
“There are a few of us that stay after practice and get extra shots up,” Rowe said. “I think that’s what helps us at the end of games. We tell the (younger players) to be smart and we’re always there for them if they need to get rid of the ball. Don’t panic with it and don’t turn it over.”
Scott had no timeouts left so Brossart guarded Scott up the court determined not to foul. Peterson scored with two seconds left. But Brossart did not have to inbound the ball allowing the game to end.
“We changed up our defense on that last possession so they had to take a little bit more time they wanted to,” Brown said. “We also told them if they drive it to the basket, let them score and we were fortunate by the time they got there, we didn’t have to inbound the ball.”
Both teams play again Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Brossart plays host to Highlands and Scott plays at Boone County.
Conner 56, Dixie Heights 37
The Cougars (16-6) came into the game on a four-game winning streak doing everything possible to prepare for the 33rd District semifinal game against Ryle in two weeks and ended the Dixie Heights (20-7) seven-game winning streak in impressive fashion on the road.
Senior guard Kelsee Simpson had a huge game scoring 19 points making 7-of-8 free throws including 6-of-6 in the fourth quarter. Junior point guard Anna Hamilton scored near her average with 16 points making Conner’s lone three-pointer.
“I think it was more about all of us as a team clicking and I think we all played really good defense,” Simpson said. “(Anna) is really good at helping everyone and keeping us together as a team. So when everyone plays together, it helps take pressure off her bringing the ball down the floor. It was about knowing the personnel then having subs come in knowing the personnel really helped.”
The Cougars took advantage of their opportunities at the free-throw line making 21-of-27. On the other side, Dixie Heights made just 7-of-16.
“We forced 17 turnovers in the first half,” said Michelle Gambrel, Conner head coach. “It was a good win for us. The last two games have had great matchups for us because Ryle has (senior guard Abby) Holtman of course, Notre Dame has (senior) Noelle (Hubert) and Dixie has (senior) Ella (Steczynski). I think Berman is a lot like (Ryle junior Quinn) Eubank. It’s been two good games for us to work on things we want to do with Ryle.”
Defensively, Conner held Dixie Heights senior guard Ella Steczynski to just four points after she came into the game averaging 12.5 per game. Senior guard Sammy Berman scored just below her average with 13 to lead the Colonels and grabbed her 500th career rebound in doing so. Freshman guard Coralee Pelfrey tried to pick up the slack with 12 making three of the four Dixie Heights three-pointers.
Conner plays host to the Christian Academy of Louisville on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Dixie Heights travels to Whitefield Academy from the 6th Region on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Other Girls Basketball Scores
Highlands 69, Lloyd Memorial 48
Ludlow 62, St. Patrick 46
Notre Dame 59, Lafayette 32
Cooper 64, St. Henry 27
Simon Kenton 54, Campbell County 48
The Pioneers (17-8) ventured east on Kentucky Highway 536 and came back with a win over the Camels (15-11) in non-region play.
Simon Kenton shot 55 percent from the field including 50 percent from three-point range and hit 12 of 16 free throws for 75 percent to go with 28 rebounds, 11 assists, six steals, five blocked shots, 17 turnovers and 10 fouls. Junior guard Travis Krohman led Simon Kenton with 14 points and 7-foot-3-inch center Gabe Dynes scored 11 to go with 13 points and two blocked shots for a double-double.
Campbell County made 32 percent of its shots including 26 from three-point range and 6 of 8 free throws for 75 percent to go with 28 rebounds, six assists, seven steals, one blocked shot, 10 turnovers and 12 fouls. Senior forward Aydan Hamilton had a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds with senior Jake Gross scoring 15 points.
Campbell County plays at Ryle (9-13) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Simon Kenton plays at Scott (11-15) on Friday at the same time.
Other Boys Basketball Scores
Bellevue 66, Calvary Christian 37
Dayton 53, Villa Madonna 38
St. Henry 64, Beechwood 55
Conner 68, Holmes 57
Newport 71, Clinton-Massie (Ohio) 56
Scott 64, Ryle 60