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Mia madness: Ingalls’ late 3 sends Columbian to victory

Tornadoes wrap up regular season with thrilling win

Up until the final minute of the game, Columbian had made just one 3-pointer.

It came in the third quarter as the Tornadoes found themselves down seven points. In the final minute, Columbian hit two 3s and forced two Norwalk turnovers.

Mia Ingalls’ triple with 8 seconds left lifted the Tornadoes to a 51-48 Sandusky Bay Conference Lake division win over the Truckers on Saturday.

“We played hard,” TC coach Amy Cooper said. “We do know how to play. Sometimes we just get in our own heads and make silly mistakes. It was a great way to end Senior Day. I am so glad we got a win.”

Trailing 48-43 with a minute left, Serena Ingalls hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to get Columbian (5-16, 2-10 SBC) within two points. Norwalk (9-13, 4-8) then committed a turnover that led to a game-tying score by Mia Ingalls.

After the Truckers committed their 27th and final turnover, the Tornadoes bled the clock down until Mia Ingalls was wide open in the corner. The junior nailed the 3 and Columbian’s defense did not even allow Norwalk to advance past halfcourt to seal the win.

“Getting the turnovers was huge,” Cooper said. “That is what our girls need to understand is we need to be more in control of our own destiny. If we force turnovers, we can make good things happen, obviously.”

Norwalk coach Brock Manlet said he thought his defense was ready to contain the 3-point attempts.

“We panicked and threw the ball away,” Manlet said of the final minute. “We did not have a couple of good possessions, offensively. We played a defense that I thought would take away the 3 and we ended up giving up two wide-open 3s.”

A baseline jumper by Meredith Obringer tied the game at 34 less than a minute into the fourth quarter, but the Truckers went on a run. Elena Barber hit two free throws for her first points of the game before Janel Jubak split two free throws. Barber scored on an offensive rebound and Brooklyn Davis made two free throws and suddenly, Norwalk led 41-34 with 4:21 left.

Brook Boes stopped the Truckers’ run when she hit three free throws. Later, her bucket, plus a free throw by Serena Ingalls drew Columbian within 43-41 with 1:57 left. Barber countered on the other end for Norwalk with a three-point play for a 46-41 edge. Toria Ingalls scored on a putback the Tornadoes, but Barber made two free throws with 1:10 left, keeping the Truckers ahead by five points.

“I told the girls we had to play man-to-man hard,” Cooper said. “If I said a certain word, we were going to have to foul. I told them to go for the ball because the officials might not call that foul.”

Norwalk jumped out to an 11-6 lead early and led by a point after one quarter. The Tornadoes struggled from the free throw line, unable to take advantage of their aggressiveness. Columbian missed its first 10 free throws of the day.

“We are either hot or cold,” Cooper said. “We either make them all or miss them all. It does not make any sense. We work on free throws all the time — pressure situations, when we are tired in practice and when we are not tired in practice. I just don’t know.”

Despite the inability to convert free throws, Toria Ingalls scored with 45 seconds left in the half and Tatyiana Dines made the only free throws of the first half for the Tornadoes to give Columbian an 18-16 advantage at halftime.

Hailey Cooper opened the third quarter scoring, but Norwalk surged ahead. The Truckers ran off the next 11 points — capped by an offensive rebound and score by Skylarr Story — for a 27-20 lead.

But, Columbian had the answer with the next nine points for a 29-27 lead with 3:20 left in the third quarter. Davis and Kylie Moser answered for Norwalk, who led 34-31 heading into the final eight minutes.

“We did switch to man-to-man defense way earlier than I usually do,” Cooper said. “I do not give my girls enough credit. I do think they play man-to-man really well. We are just so much more confident in the zone. As soon as we put the man-to-man on Norwalk, they started turning the ball over.”

Norwalk continues to play without senior starter Olivia Ward, who was injured a week ago in a game at Bellevue. Manlet said having a senior leader on the floor in the final minute could have been crucial.

“We put Kylie Moser in there to handle the ball as a freshman,” Manlet said. “She has done a great job of doing that, but I do not think she is fully ready to do that. It hurts us, depth-wise.”

Mia Ingalls led the Tornadoes with 11 points while Serena Ingalls scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

“I think we are really close and that is what I have been telling the girls all season,” Cooper said. “We have been close to a lot of the teams that we have played. Sometimes you just come up on the short end of the stick, but today we got the win.”

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