ATTICA - For Upper Sandusky, the third time wasn't the charm.
After getting bested by Wynford twice during the regular season, and losing out to the Royals by a game for a North Central Conference title, the Rams got one more shot at Wynford when it mattered the most.
A spot in the district semifinals was on the line when the two NCC foes met at a Division III sectional final at Seneca East High. After both teams spent the entire night trading the lead back and fourth, Wynford grabbed the lead in the final seconds of the third quarter quarter and never let it go.
The Royals finally pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 59-51 win and a spot in the district semifinals Thursday against either New London or Western Reserve at Norwalk.
Throughout the first three quarters, there was little separation between the teams; neither team built a lead greater than five points. Upper Sandusky took a 38-36 lead on a Logan Kinley basket with 38 seconds to play in the third. However, Kym Schwemley answered with a basket on the other end that tied the game for the ninth time on the night.
When it looked like Upper Sandusky would get the final shot at the quarter, a steal turned into a fast break layup for Karle Schiefer, giving Wynford a 40-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
|Division III Sectional|
|At Seneca East|
|Upper Sandusky 51|
|Upper Sandusky (12-10): Logan Kinley 2-0-5; Savannah Piecha 1-0-3; Amber Cox 4-2-12; Allison Snyder 2-0-4; Alex Cameron 0-0-0; Marissa Linhart 4-0-8; Jorden Born 6-0-12; Taylor Graboski 3-1-7. Totals: 22-3-51.|
|Wynford (15-6): Karle Schiefer 2-0-5; Shannon Miller 0-0-0; Cierra Brady 6-3-15; Maghan Harrer 2-7-12; Mandy Lilly 1-0-2; Kym Schwemley 5-0-10; Paige Brady 4-5-13; Brenna Quinn 0-2-2; Ellie Richmond 0-0-0. Totals: 20-17-59.|
|Upper Sandusky||17||8||13||13 – 51|
|Wynford||16||12||12||19 – 59|
|Field goals: Upper Sandusky 22-63; Wynford 20-46.|
|3-point goals: Upper Sandusky 4-18 (Cox 2, Piecha, Kinley); Wynford 2-8 (Harrer, Schiefer).|
|Foul shots: Upper Sandusky 3-10; Wynford 17-20.|
|Rebounds: Upper Sandusky 28 (Graboski 8); Wynford 42 (P. Brady 16).|
|Turnovers: Upper Sandusky 13; Wynford 20.|
It was the 11th, and final lead change of the night.
"Probably it gave them a little momentum going into the fourth," Upper Sandusky coach Brent Fahle said. "Offensively, in crucial situations, we just didn't hit shots. I thought we executed, we just didn't finish. You got to finish."
While Upper Sandusky was having trouble getting shots to fall in the early stages of the fourth quarter, a pair of Bradys were giving a Royal performance.
Paige Brady opened the final period with a basket for Wynford and Cierra Brady hit the next three for the Royals, upping the lead to 48-42 with 3:46 to play.
It was the game's largest lead at that point.
Wynford didn't make a shot the rest of the way, but hit 11 of 12 foul shots to seal the game.
Cierra Brady's 15 points topped four Royals in double figures. Paige Brady added 13, Maghan Harrer scored 12 and Schwemley tallied 10.
Paige Brady, standing at 5-foot-9, was undersized compared to Upper Sandusky's post players, but pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds.
"She was second-team all-district and second-team all-league, but Paige has matched every single 6-footer we've played," Wynford coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon said. "Possession for possession. ... Our post players did a great job today."
Wynford held a 42-28 rebounding edge on the night.
"We made some mistakes on defense," Fahle said. "We didn't box out in crucial situations and a team like (Wynford), if you don't box out, they're going to make you pay for it. And I think that's pretty much what they did."
The Rams began the game hot from the outside. Amber Cox knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter and scored nine in the period to help her team to a 17-16 lead at the first stop.
"We knew we'd have to have that third person show up to win, give us an opportunity," Fahle said. "I thought for the most part I thought Amber Cox did a great job and hopefully that propels her into the off-season, and she has a great off-season. ... She hit a couple big shots for us when we were teetering a little bit on whether we were going to go down. She kept us in the ball game for a lot of the ball game."
Paige Brady broke a tie late in the second quarter with a basket with 1:23 left in the half, and later added a free throw to send her team to the locker room with a 28-25 lead.
Upper Sandusky responded coming out in the third with two quick baskets from Marissa Linhart to retake the lead. Linhart, the lone Upper Sandusky senior, scored six in the period and eight overall in what turned out to be her final game with the Rams.
"She played probably one of her better games of the year," Fahle said. "She attacked and she played like a senior should play."
Cox and Jorden Born, both sophomores, shared the team-high for Upper Sandusky each with 12 points. Classmate Taylor Graboski, led the Rams on the glass with eight rebounds.
With Linhart being the only loss from this years team to graduation, Fahle is excited about what the future holds for his team.
"We're young and we're going to be back," he said.