SPRINGFIELD – Badin defeated West Liberty-Salem, 48-39, in the district final of the Division III girls basketball tournament on Saturday.
In the first quarter, each team had a difficult time converting shots and the pace was frenetic.
“You’re not going to shoot great every day. It’s not that we didn’t get the looks we wanted, we just didn’t knock them down,” WL-S Coach Dennis McIntosh said.
As the first half wore on, Badin was able to convert a few looks inside, but the Tigers continued to struggle at the offensive end, including at the free throw line.
“They took us out of some of what we like to do. They were physical with us at times and we panicked at times,” McIntosh said. “We just never really got into a rhythm offensively. Certain times we did, for a possession or two.”
The second half was all Badin (19-7) until about six minutes remained. The Rams had opened a nine-point margin after the third quarter by breaking the Tigers’ press to get layups and making timely jumpers.
Meanwhile, WL-S (24-2) continued to struggle offensively. The Tigers turned the ball over and missed shots – both out of character.
“We got behind and we had to start taking some chances,” McIntosh said. “They were double-teaming us there and we threw the ball away a couple of times.
Then, the Tigers found their stroke from long distance.
Kelsey Day made a pair of three-pointers and Lily Yoder hit one that cut the lead to five, despite Badin continuing to score.
Gabby Hollar connected on a pair of free throws to cut the lead to three points with about four minutes remaining, and the game was on.
But that was all the offense WL-S could muster and the Rams pushed the lead back out to as many as nine points, which would eventually become the final.
“We made a nice little run there, but then ended up giving up some layups when we pressured them and ended up getting the lead back up,” McIntosh said.
For the Tigers, Day had 12 points, Yoder had 8 and Mikalia McIntosh scored 7.
“They put the work into it. The effort into it. They’re a great group to coach – they do everything we ask, they work hard in practice,” Coach McIntosh said, before turning his attention to his seniors, Yoder and McIntosh.
“They’ve had great careers. They’ve been to the district finals twice – won it once. We’re going to miss, especially, their offensive abilities. But they’ve been great to coach.”