SPRINGFIELD – Purcell Marian defeated West Liberty-Salem, 51-32, in a Division III girls district basketball final on Saturday.
The loss snapped WL-S’s 22-game winning streak this season.
The Tigers jumped out to a 14-12 lead after a quarter, with Kelsey Day banging in all 14 of the WL-S points. Day hit four shots from beyond the arc and drove the Cavaliers mad before the buzzer sounded.
Purcell Marian made adjustments, though, and was able to shut the Tigers down the rest of the way with a mix of good on-ball pressure and players jumping into passing lanes.
“They got real physical with us and we just couldn’t get into any offensive looks. Especially after that first quarter, they did a real good job switching and jumping Kelsey. She didn’t get too many good looks after that,” WL-S Coach Dennis McIntosh said.
Day finished with 19 points, while Gabby Hollar scored 5 and Emily Hollar added 4.
The Cavs pushed the lead from 27-21 at halftime to 40-27 after three, hitting a couple of jumpers and moving the needle offensively.
“We really thought going to the 2-3 (defense) would help, but we didn’t expect them to knock down the threes like they did. We hadn’t seen that from them on any film or when we saw them in person,” McIntosh said. “They have three really nice players and they stepped up today.”
The Tigers (22-4) were without the services of impact sophomore post Selena Weaver, whose arm was in a sling following an injury in the sectional final on Monday.
“I’ve just got to be patient. Right now I’m going to support my team from the sideline,” Weaver said before the game.
The Tigers seemed poised to cut into the lead late with some pressure defense of their own, but McIntosh wasn’t inclined to switch to a press before he did.
“With Selena out and basically only playing with six kids, I’m not sure how much energy we were going to have left. I think Gabby and Kelsey were pretty much running on fumes anyway,” McIntosh said.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.