The following recap was written by Bob Daniels of The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.
BAY VILLAGE — With poise under pressure, clutch foul shooting and perhaps its finest defensive effort of the season, Elyria Catholic rolled past Bay Village High School, 47-33 on Wednesday (Feb. 3) night.
First place in the Great Lakes Conference was on the line. With the win, EC (16-3, 10-1 GLC) clinched at least a tie for the conference title. Bay (18-2, 9-2 GLC) dropped a game behind the Panthers, each with one conference game to play. The Rockets’ only losses have been to EC.
The outcome was a surprise to some.
In their first meeting Jan. 9 in EC’s Coliseum, the Panthers toughed out a 47-46 overtime victory. Until then, the Rockets were undefeated through 11 games.
Wednesday’s game might also have been a portent of things to come. The teams could meet for a third time in the Division II district tournament next month.
The Panthers, who held Bay to single-digit scoring in each of the last three quarters, got a 15-point second half from senior scoring leader Riley Schill, who scored a game-high 19. Junior Nora Hopkins scored 16 points — eight in each half – second-highest total of her career. She had 18 points in the season opener against Vermilion.
Clutch foul shooting? Schill made 5-of-6 in the fourth quarter, 7-of-8 in the second half. As a team, EC made 9-of-12 free throws in the second half and, in the late going, ran its four-corners offense (run clock, wait for easy shots) flawlessly.
Schill said the Panthers succeeded because they started making shots after the break.
“We really started passing the ball,” she said. “We stepped up and took care of it. In the first half, we got a little flustered. But in the second half, we were patient with the ball and we got some great looks.”
The score was 12-12 after a quarter, and EC edged ahead 21-20 at halftime despite a seven-point second quarter by Bay senior Nora Ziebarth. But with Hopkins nailing a big 3-point basket in the final minute of the third quarter and Schill hitting two threes and two foul shots, the Panthers carried a 34-27 lead into the final eight minutes.
Defensively, EC kept the Rockets out of the middle, denied them the baseline and enjoyed a big margin on the backboards, 31-19. The defense not only limited the Rockets to single-digit scoring in the second through fourth periods, it forced the single digits in sequentially descending order — eight, seven and six.
Junior Sam Filiaggi, a key in the defense, said EC knew it needed a big effort on that side of the ball.
“We knew defense was going to be essential,” she said. “They have very good, fast guards. We had to keep them in front of us and don’t let them have the baseline. We focused on defense in practice a lot in the past two days and I think our defensive stops helped a lot. Definitely, the defense helped win this game for us.”
The Panthers outscored Bay 26-13 after the break. Hopkins said EC coach Eric Rothgery talked about being patient and focused at halftime.
“He told us we had to stop freaking out with the turnovers and look for the open people — the open people wearing green,” she joked.
Rothgery said that with tournament play set to begin within the week, the victory came at the right time of the season.
“You want to work toward tournament time and this was a good game obviously,” he said. “There was a great crowd here, there are good players on the other team and it just makes for a good environment. I just thought our girls came through beautifully.”
Bay coach Brian Hill noted correctly that his team did not shoot well (20.4 percent).
“It happens,” he said. “It’s part of a basketball game. I think our girls got a little bit frazzled when (the Panthers) started to get a little bit of a lead. But that’s something we’re going to have to learn. We’re still a young team and this is not going to define our season.”
Elyria Catholic 47, Bay 33
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (47): Julia Scarpelli 0-0-0, Josie Carandang 1-1-3, Regan Schill 1-2-5, Riley Schill 5-7-19, Sam Filiaggi 2-0-4, Nora Hopkins 7-1-16, Megan Scheibelhut 0-0-0. Totals 16-11-47.
BAY(33): Brenna Rohlke 0-0-0, Maddie Holmes 2-3-7, Lauren Heldt 2-3-9, Maddie Edgerly 0-2-2, Rachel Lenarth 0-0-0, Annie Peters 1-0-2, Jessica Rychel 0-0-0, Nora Ziebarth 5-2-13, Maddie Andrews 0-0-0, Maeve Johnston 0-0-0. Totals 10-10-33.