Kenton ends TC’s season

FOSTORIA – Elvis Presley once sang the lyrics “we’re caught in a trap.”

It’s unlikely he had basketball in mind when performed the song, but Katie Fazekas and her Columbian Tornadoes certainly could relate Wednesday night.

Columbian struggled against the Kenton trap in the Division II sectional semifinal at Fostoria. The Tornadoes had a tough time beating the press, and when they were unable to, a turnover often was the result.

Kenton forced TC into 32 turnovers, took a 32-17 lead into halftime, and cruised from there in a 57-38 win that ended Columbian’s season.

“They had a good press,” Fazekas said after the loss. “Those traps, we didn’t see out of it, we didn’t see the open man, but credit their defense. It was a good press.”

Kenton used its defense to force TC into nine first quarter miscues, and built a 16-5 lead after a Brooke Bostelman free throw with 1:54 left.

The Tornadoes, led by senior Jocelyn Cole, came right back.

After a layup by Payge Smith, Cole was left open by the Wildcats’ defense twice – once at the top of the key, once on the right side. Cole hit back-to-back 3s. She finished the first quarter with nine points as Columbian cut the Kenton lead to 16-13 going to the second quarter.

Cole had a strong final game, scoring a team-best 17 points for Columbian (7-15).

“She shot well,” Fazekas said. “It’s nice to see a senior go out on a note like that. I thought she gave us a good spark.”

But the rally was short-lived. The Tornadoes went just 2 of 8 from the floor in the second quarter, and the Wildcats warmed up, going 7 of 13. Bostelman hit a pair of 3s from the wing in the quarter, as Kenton went on a 16-4 spurt and never looked back.

“We talked about (Cole); she’s a great shooter,” said Kenton coach Ryan Miller. “I’d heard she had eight 3-pointers last year against Fostoria, maybe in this gym … We just wanted to make sure we were contesting on her shots, getting after her.

“We talked about runs. We wanted to limit their runs, and we wanted to make sure we called timeouts when when we needed to call timeouts,” he said. “We focused on the stops.”

Kaily Whitaker led all scorers with 24 points, going 8 of 8 from the foul line. She led a Kenton squad that went to the stripe 25 times, making 18.

“The five games previous to this, she scored 17 in every one of those games,” Miller said. “But she’s a constant. She’s a consistent player.”

Columbian didn’t go to the foul line at all.

“We could have been more aggressive,” Fazekas said. “I didn’t think we got some of the calls we could have.”

Kenton (13-10) advances to play Willard at 6:15 p.m. here Saturday in the sectional final.

Columbian got eight points from Smith, who led the Tornadoes with 10 rebounds.

“Payge stepped up; she had a nice game,” Fazekas said.

The coach said she was pleased with how hard her team played.

“I told them at one point, ‘any jersey with Columbian on it doesn’t give up. They play to the end,'” Fazekas said. “And they did. We’ve talked about that all season. Even when the going got tough and they came up against better competition, they fought. They showed a lot of pride.”