by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
AMANDA — Survive and advance. That’s what it is all about come tournament time.
And after a strong first half, Amanda-Clearcreek survived a rough second half to advance to the district semifinal with a 33-26 win over Johnstown.
“I told the girls in the locker room that it doesn’t matter how you get it done,” A-C coach Tim Leist said. “In the tournament, the bottom line is you get it done and give yourselves a chance.”
Five Aces contributed points as Amanda-Clearcreek scored the first 13 of the game on the way to an 18-3 lead after the first quarter.
Scoring slowed down a bit in the second quarter but Amanda-Clearcreek still was able to expand its lead to go in at the half up 26-7.
“That’s about as well as we played all season there in the first half,” Leist said.
“Now, what happened in the second half, I don’t want to comment,” he added, with a grin. “They were switching a lot of screens and their size gave us a lot of problems.”
Those problems resulted in the Aces being held scoreless in the third period. Amanda-Clearcreek’s defense did its job, though, only giving up five points.
Taylor Evans broke Amanda-Clearcreek’s scoring drought with a basket 30 seconds into the fourth to put her team up 28-12.
That was the final field goal Amanda-Clearcreek scored on the night.
Johnstown’s Abigail Adkins and Lauren Baughman combined to score the next nine points to make it 28-21 with 46 seconds left in the game. But Evans, Emily Buckley and Kaylie Wilson combined to hit five of seven free throws to hold off the Johnnies and stay alive for another game.
Buckley and Evans led the Aces with nine points each and Hailey Sowers had six.
Friday wasn’t the first meeting between the two schools as the Aces beat the Johnnies 47-39 just before the new year. At that time, Adkins was coming off an injury but still led her team despite minimal playing time. Friday, a healthy Adkins was the focus of Amanda-Clearcreek’s defense.
“We knew coming in that Adkins was going to play the full game, because last time he was taking her off the floor because she was still getting her legs,” Leist said. “We knew she was going to play the whole game, so that was our plan to double her and make her work.”
That defensive pressure from the Aces not only limited Adkins but spilled over to her teammates as only three players from Johnstown scored.
Adkins led her team with 14 points and Baughman had 10.
The Aces don’t have much time to before their next game as they hit the hardwood again Monday night – most likely against Worthington Christian. The Warriors are the No. 1 seed in the Division III Central District tournament and play their sectional final Saturday afternoon against No. 23 Columbus Academy.
“We’ll come in tomorrow morning and we’ll have film broke down on Worthington Christian,” Leist said. “We’ll have to figure out some things offensively – what didn’t work tonight – and try to correct that because they’re a really good defensive team. They’re 22-1 for a reason.”
Monday’s game will tipoff at 7 at a site to be determined.
Amanda-Clearcreek 44, Johnstown 26
Johnstown — Abigail Adkins 5-1-14, Lauren Baughman 3-4-10, Kylie Sharp 0-2-2. Three-point goals — Adkins (3). Total — 8-7-26.
Amanda-Clearcreek — Emily Buckley 2-4-9, Rachel Weaver 2-0-4, Hailey Sowers 2-1-6, Taylor Evans 2-4-9, Kaylie Wilson 1-2-4, Abby Pugh 0-1-1. Three-point goals — E Buckley, Sowers, Evans. Total — 9-12-33.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Johnstown 3 4 5 14 26
Am.-Clearcreek 18 8 0 7 33