SIDNEY – Houston jumped out to an 11-0 lead, held off a driven Mechanicsburg rally and beat the Indians 56-49 in the Division IV girls sectional at Sidney High School on Tuesday.
Houston had a 14-6 lead after a quarter, with M’burg scoring on a pair of Mikayla Dodane three-pointers.
In the second quarter, the Indians ramped up the defensive pressure and forced Houston to play outside its comfort zone, turning the Wildcats over several times and taking away offensive rhythm.
“We talked about not giving up,” MHS Coach Christie Dodane said. “We didn’t see that heart every game this year. I was proud of them and I was proud of their effort.”
In addition, M’burg started using the baseline more effectively on offense, diving to the hoop and scoring amidst contact.
“We talked about taking the ball to the hole and scoring. And doing things right,” Dodane said. “I was proud of them because we came right back.”
After the dust cleared and the buzzer sounded, the Indians improbably led at halftime, 21-19.
Houston came out of the dressing room reinvigorated, snatching the lead back and building it to a 39-31 margin by the end of the third quarter.
“They hit a couple in the corner, which didn’t help. But we left some gaps. We left some kids open,” Dodane said. “But overall, I thought we played with heart. We played hard.”
Houston was able to maintain its lead throughout the fourth quarter, opening it up to double digits before the Indians (6-17) stormed back to make a game of it.
Down the stretch, both Elly Schipfer and Mikayla Dodane fouled out of the game, leaving with 19 and 23 points, respectively. Houston was able to widen the margin at the free throw line in the waning moments.
Coach Dodane is optimistic about the future of the program, with only one player set to graduate in the spring.
“I know it was a tough year not having a jayvee team, but hopefully we’ll have one next year. That will help those young kids,” Dodane said. “I really hope those kids can see that we can compete.”