Tigers take a win from New Riegel
Adachi’s steal-and-score lifts SE to thrilling non-conference victory
By Josh Morgret
NEW RIEGEL — New Riegel got the stop it needed defensively.
All the Blue Jackets had to do was wait to either run the clock out and celebrate a win, or be fouled and go to the free throw line and earn the win there.
Seneca East junior Marina Adachi had other ideas.
Adachi stepped in front of a pass, scored, and then provided great help-side defense on Brianna Gillig’s final shot as the Tigers escaped New Riegel with a 47-46 non-league win Saturday.
“We felt like they would get the ball to their scorer and that is exactly what they did,” Seneca East coach Don Vogt said. “We just face-guarded, but we told the kids we had to know exactly where she was the whole time.”
Adachi was fouled on the go-ahead basket, but she missed on what was her only free throw attempt of the day. The Blue Jackets first called timeout before Seneca East (9-2) used its final timeout as well. Gillig’s shot hit the front rim as time expired, sealing the win for the Tigers.
“We wanted to set a screen for Bri and get her the ball,” New Riegel coach Cindy Walerius said. “We were hoping to have two girls at the elbow to re-set the screen, but at that point, they were watching instead of going to set the screen.”
Freshman Jessica Bowerman split two free throws to push Seneca East ahead, 43-42, with 1:28 left. On the other end, Bonnie Bivens, who tallied a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, committed her fifth foul when she fouled the Blue Jackets’ Kaitlyn Kirian. Bivens left the game as Kirian made both free throws, giving New Riegel (3-6) its first lead of the second half.
Seneca East immediately went to work as the clock ticked under one minute to play. To that point, only three Tigers — Bivens, Bowerman, and Adachi — had scored. But, off of a missed shot, Caylin Quiggle grabbed the rebound and put the ball back up and in for a 46-45 lead with 52 seconds left.
“I think Caylin was motivated more in that second half,” Vogt said. “I think we all were and we fed off of the intensity of the next player. I thought Aubrey Saylors was amazing in that box-and-one defense against Brianna.”
Brooklyn Gillig was fouled on the other end, drawing a one-and-one opportunity. After making three of her first four free throws, Gillig missed her third in a row, but Brianna Gillig grabbed the rebound and scored with 33 seconds left.
Seneca East missed a shot on the other end before Adachi’s steal and layup for the win.
“I know I have a lot of unhappy kids and they are upset we could not pull it off,” Walerius said. “We knew it was a big game and Seneca East only had two losses coming in — Buckeye Central and Upper Sandusky, which are two of our losses too.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-3 lead only to watch the Blue Jackets reel off the next 12 points. A 3-point play by Kirian and a free throw by Brooklyn Gillig aided New Riegel to a 19-11 lead after eight minutes.
Kristin Coleman scored in the second quarter for the Blue Jackets for a 25-18 lead, but it would be the last points of the quarter for New Riegel. Bivens made two free throws and then scored after a New Riegel timeout. Bowerman drilled a 3-pointer before buckets from Adachi and Bivens gave Seneca East a 29-25 lead at halftime.
“I thought we did a good job of rotating to the shooters and we knew that Adachi and Bowerman were great shooters,” Walerius said. “We kept trying to rotate and once in a while they would have an open look when an open rotation broke down.”
Bowerman scored the first bucket out of the half, ending a 13-0 run over 6:05 for the Tigers.
The Blue Jackets got back within three points when Kirian scored with 2:26 left in the third quarter, but Adachi connected on a trey and Bivens split a pair of free throws, giving Seneca East a 39-32 lead after three quarters. Brianna Gillig was held scoreless over the middle two quarters.
“You would have to ask Aubrey how tough it is to defend Brianna,” Vogt said. “Brianna is a very good ball player and good ball players are gonna score. I thought Aubrey did a sensational job defending her.”
Bowerman tallied 17 points and seven rebounds for Seneca East, while Adachi added 14 points.
“Games like this are really, really good for us because they expose some of the things we still need to work on,” Vogt said. “I think sometimes when you have the success like our team is having, it is sometimes easy to not see the things you need to work on.”
Kirian finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds for New Riegel, who made just 14 of 24 free throws, including just 7 of 15 in the second half.
“That is not usually us. It is frustrating because we usually shoot better than that as a team,” Walerius said. “We talked after the game that a foul shot here or there is the game. We have to be able to put those foul shots in.”