by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
GROVE CITY — Seventh-seeded Marion Pleasant hit three of four free throws in the final 30 seconds to end No. 6 Amanda-Clearcreek’s season 40-36.
The two were facing off at Central Crossing High School in the Division III Central District semifinal Tuesday night in a game where both teams put together some good runs.
Amanda-Clearcreek’s Grace Davis scored the first seven points of the game but the Spartans held a 16-9 lead after the first quarter.
Pleasant extended its lead to 22-13 but the Aces came back to tie the game at 22-22 at halftime. Davis had 15 of a game-high 22 points in the first half.
AC got out in front 31-27 in the third but the Spartans scored the final six points of the period to lead 33-31.
“It was one of those games where nobody could really take control. We jumped on them seven-nothing and they come back and go up nine and they we tied it up at halftime,” AC coach Tim Leist said. “I was waiting for us to take control again and it just didn’t happen.
“We knew how evenly matched we were coming into this game. We knew there wasn’t much room for error. There was a stretch there in the fourth quarter where we got careless with the ball — that really did us in.”
The Aces were able to keep the game close despite 17 turnovers.
“That’s haunted us all year,” Leist said. “Against Fredericktown last week, we knew they would turn it over, but we knew (Pleasant) wouldn’t. Turnovers come back to haunt you.”
One of the ways the Aces were able to keep Pleasant from taking advantage of those turnovers was by hitting the boards. AC ended the night with a 44-11 rebounding advantage. Emily Buckley grabbed a dozen Tuesday night and Davis had nine.
While Tuesday’s loss was disappointing, the future looks bright for the Aces. They will lose Abby Carver and Sara Sharp to graduation, but most of the squad that turned the Aces around from a 3-19 season a year ago to post a 15-9 record this year will be returning.
“What a ride — 15-9. To go from 3-9 to 15-9 and one game away from playing for a district title. That’s what stinks, we really wanted to get to Ohio Dominican on Friday and play for that district title,” Leist said. “We told them in the locker room that the table is set. From where we were last year to this year, moving forward is going to take a great off season.”
Marion Pleasant 40, Amanda-Clearcreek 36
Marion Pleasant — Emerson Williams 5-1-14, Lexi Ott 1-0-3, Avah Steele 1-2-4, Kyla Columber 4-4-13, Maddie Simmons 2-1-5, Avery Malcom 0-1-1. Three-point goals — Williams (3), Ott, Columber. Total — 13-43 9-13 40.
Amanda-Clearcreek — Emily Buckley 1-3-5, Rachel Weaver 2-0-4, Megan Toill 1-0-2, Hailey Sowers 1-0-3, Grace Davis 8-5-22. Three-point goals — Sowers, Davis. Total — 13-41 8-15 36.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Marion Pleasant 16 6 11 7 40
Amanda-Clearcreek 9 13 9 5 36