CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — It’s not how you start, but rather how you finish.
The Ohio Valley girls basketball team trailed by double-digits early in the second period but rallied back to take the 40-35 victory over Toledo Emmanuel Christian Friday afternoon in the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association state semi-final at the Maxwell Center on the campus of Ohio Christian University.
The Lady Warriors held the Lady Defenders without a field goal trough the opening four minutes, while amassing a 9-to-2 edge. ECS expanded its lead to nine points by the conclusion of the first quarter, with a 6-to-4 spurt. Ohio Valley Christian shot just 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) in the opening stanza, while Emmanuel Christian held a 13-to-7 advantage on the glass.
The Lady Warriors pushed their lead to 10 points just over a minute into the second period, but OVCS answered with an 8-to-5 run to end the half. Emmanuel Christian led 23-16 at the midway point but momentum was in the Lady Defenders favor, as in the second period OVCS held a 10-to-7 advantage on the glass and a 33.3-to-25 advantage in field goal percentage.
The Lady Defenders outscored ECS 10-to-4 in the third period, sparked by 12 Lady Warrior turnovers. Emmanuel Christian clung to a 27-26 lead with eight minutes remaining in the contest. OVCS shot 5-of-13 (38.5) from the field in the third period, while the Lady Warriors were 2-of-9 (22.2).
Ohio Valley Christian tied the game in the opening minute of the final period, but Emmanuel Christian answered with four straight points. The Lady Defenders battled back and took their first lead of the game at the 4:22 mark on an and-1 free throw make by senior Madison Crank. The Blue and White never relinquished their lead and they took the 40-35 victory.
“It means a lot to us,” Lady Defenders coach Chris Burnett said. “It’s been a long season for us but we’ve been progressing and getting better the whole time. One of the goals we set at the beginning of the year was get back (to the finals) and we’re excited to do it.
Madison Crank led the Lady Defenders with 15 points, followed by Bekah Sargent and Emily Carman with eight apiece. Seven of Carman’s eight came in the fourth quarter. Sarah Schoonover finished with five points, while Rachel Sargent and Teah Elliott each marked two, rounding out the OVCS total.
Crank also led the Lady Defenders on the glass with six rebounds, followed by Carmen and Bekah Sargent with five each. Carmen led the assist total for OVCS with three, while Crank led the defense with five steals and two blocks. Bekah Sargent was the lone Lady Defender to foul out.
Ohio Valley Christian shot 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) from the line and 17-of-47 (36.2 percent) from the field, including 1-of-7 (14.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Crank made the Lady Defenders lone triple. The Lady Defenders shot 50 percent from the field after halftime. As a team the Blue and White had 26 rebounds and 22 turnovers.
“We started slow and we didn’t shoot the ball well,” Ohio Valley Christian coach Chris Burnett said. “We kept telling them be aggressive on offense, work hard on defense and our time would come. We have a lot of heart and we never gave up, we are very proud of what these girls accomplished.”