Amanda-Clearcreek forced visiting Columbus School for Girls into 23 turnovers on Tuesday and cruised to a 58-27 Division III Central District sectional semifinal win.
“We scouted Columbus School for Girls and watched them on film, so we knew they had a nice post player but struggled some with their guard play,” Amanda-Clearcreek coach Tim Leist said. “We wanted to exploit that weakness and prevent them from getting the ball into the post, and our girls did a nice job of executing some of our different pressure packages defensively and really challenged the guards that Columbus School for Girls have.”
The Aces drained 10 three-pointers in the win, led by freshman guard Taylor Evans connecting on five of those triples on the way to a game-high 17 points. Emily Buckley followed with 14 points, Kaylie Wilson tossed in 10 and Addy Pugh added eight.
The Aces held the Unicorns to just 2 of 6 (33.3 percent) shooting in the first quarter and jumped out to a 12-4 lead.
Evans connected on three field goals, including a pair of three-pointers, to score eight of the Aces’ 12 points.
“Taylor missed her first couple of shots, so I told her to just keep shooting and have that scorer’s mentality, and Taylor knocked down some shots to get us going. She had a nice night shooting the basketball, especially from three,” Leist said. “Taylor is our best three-point shooter and she has the ability to get on a nice roll shooting the basketball.”
Amanda-Clearcreek stretched its advantage to 25-12 at halftime, thanks in part to forcing Columbus School for Girls into 13 first-half turnovers.
“Our defense set the tone and our girls are doing an amazing job of executing our man defense,” Leist said. “I’ve felt like since the first Logan Elm game late last month that we’ve been pretty locked in defensively and have been playing our best basketball of the season.”
Buckley was 2 of 3 (66.6 percent) shooting from the field during the quarter and scored eight points.
Evans drained two more triples in the third quarter and Buckley chipped in four points, helping the Aces extend their lead to 39-23.
Amanda-Clearcreek finished the night with a 19-4 fourth quarter that was highlighted by Wilson knocking down all three shots the freshman took for eight points and Pugh adding five.
“We had some nice balance, scoring wise,” Leist said. “Emily Buckley has been our rock all season and is just so consistent. Kaylie has really stepped into the starting role she’s had over the last month and has given us some nice minutes and then it was nice to see Addy string together some offense there in the second half.
“We talked to the girls at halftime about putting the game away. They were able to add to our lead in the third quarter and finished the night on a nice run.”
Gillian Spangler scored nine points and Samantha Morris added six for the Unicorns (12-10).
The Aces (13-10) are slated to host No. 12 seeded Johnstown (15-7) on Friday for a sectional final. The two teams met over Christmas break with the Aces winning 47-39, although standout junior guard Abigail Adkins was limited in the contest coming back from an injury.
Johnstown has won 11 of its last 12 games since its first meeting with the Aces.
“Johnstown was easing Adkins back in when we played them the first time, so we were able to pressure them when she was off the floor,” Leist said. “It’s going to be a different challenge, because they are big, physical and can also shoot the basketball.
“We have it on our white board that February is about opportunity and our girls have earned the opportunity to play on our home floor on Friday for a sectional title. Hopefully, we have two strong practices and can put together a nice game on Friday night.”
Division III Central District
No. 7 Amanda-Clearcreek 58,
No. 15 Columbus School for Girls 27
COLUMBUS SCHOOL FOR GIRLS —Gillian Spangler 4-0-9, Francesca Nuyles 1-0-3, Ella Miesle 0-1-1, Clara Carney 1-1-4, Samantha Morris 2-2-6, Howard 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Spangler, Carney, Nuyles. Total — 10-28 4-9 27.
AMANDA-CLEARCREEK — Katie Kemmerling 1-0-3, Emily Buckley 3-6-14, Rachel Weaver 1-0-2, Hailey Sowers 2-0-4, Taylor Evans 6-0-17, Kaylie Wilson 4-0-10, Addy Pugh 3-2-8. Three-point goals — Evans (5), Buckley (2), Wilson (2), Kemmerling. Total — 20-53 8-11 58.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Cols. School for Girls 4 8 11 4 27
Amanda-Clearcreek 12 13 14 19 58