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Lady Warriors movin’ on to district play
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By Carol McIntire
A 3-point shot off the hands of Hillari Baker midway through the fourth period lit a spark in the Carrollton Warriors that carried the team to the Division II East District 2 sectional championship.
The No. 4 seeded Warriors hosted the No. 6 New Philadelphia Lady Quakers last Saturday in the hard-fought, physical contest which wasn’t controlled by either team until the final minutes of the game, won by Carrollton 43-33.
Baker’s shot came with 4:51 left in the game and the Warrior clinging to a 29-27 lead.
The Quaker’s aggressive defense and full-court press rattled the Warriors at times throughout the contest and took Coach Nik Schweikert’s team out of its rhythm by shutting down the outside shooters.
The hosts began to get their usual mojo back early in the fourth quarter with quick passes around the perimeter, but couldn’t put any distance between the teams on the scoreboard.
After the Quakers cut the lead to 29-27 on two foul shots, the Warrior offense quickly broke through the Quaker’s trapping defense and set up around the perimeter. A series of sharp, quick passes led to one to Baker, who pulled up at the top of the key and fired a 3-pointer that swished through the net.
The momentum swung at that moment. Baker followed it with a drive inside and a contested layup. Senior Lauren Marmo repeated Baker’s shot from the top of the key just over a minute later and suddenly, the home team was in control 37-28.
Schweikert’s team spread the floor following a timeout at the 1:49 mark, forcing the Quakers to foul.
As the Warriors took turns cutting down pieces of the net following the game, Schweikert said he was still processing the win.
“It was kind of chaotic. It wasn’t a very smooth game. It was chaos,” he said. “I never felt like we were playing as well as we should and I think I yelled more than I usually do. I knew we were nervous. So was I. “
Both teams started slow offensively with each putting up seven points in the first quarter.
The Quakers took the lead 20 seconds into the second quarter when Marilyn Stokey backed inside the lane and tossed the ball up. The visitor’s pressure defense forced errant passes and turnovers on the part of the hosts and led to a 17-16 Quaker lead at halftime.
Carrollton found itself trailing 21-16 midway through the third period before Baker sank a 3-pointer and Demi Leary tied the game with a drive inside. Carrollton led 26-25 as the teams entered the fourth period.
“We had a couple big moments,” Schweikert said. “The big thing was to just keep playing together and play the way we play and come together at the right time and we did.”
“We missed some opportunities but, by the way we played all year, you knew they weren’t going to stop. They were going to fight the whole time. Ultimately, the greatest thing is for them to have the opportunity to cut down the net. That’s an experience they are never going to forget.”
Marmo and Baker scored 12 points apiece and Kylie Ujcich added 11. Leary and Haley Leslie both contributed four. Baker was credited with two assists and two steals. Marmo pulled down nine rebounds and Leslie five. Ellie Mason led the Quakers with 12 points.
Carrollton is scheduled to play John Glenn in the first game of district competition this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Indian Valley High School. Tickets for the game must be purchased online.
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