TROY — Not many people expected Northmont to stand a chance against Tecumseh in the opening round of the girls Division I sectional tournament Saturday at Troy.
The Lady Arrows routed Northmont 66-48 during the regular season. Tecumseh finished regular season play with a 17-5 record overall and a 12-1 record in the Central Buckeye Conference. Northmont on the other hand finished at 11-11 overall and went 2-9 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Tecumseh managed to walk away with 74-67 victory Saturday, but had to work hard to earn the win.
The Lady Bolts raised some eyebrows by leading 16-12 at the end of the first quarter and 30-26 at halftime. Makayla Cooper buried a 3-pointer to give Northmont an early 3-0 advantage and scored the last basket of the quarter to give her team a four point lead. Tecumseh took its first lead of the game with two minutes left in the half on consecutive baskets by Terah Harness.
After a missed Northmont free throw Cooper came up with a backcourt steal but took a hit to her eye in the process. Cooper grimaced as she drove in for the score and had to leave the game in severe pain. She lost a contact lens as a result of the play that tied the game 24-24. Camryn Nadir and Salena Roberts scored to close out the half to give the Lady Bolts a 30-26 lead.
Northmont went on to build a 40-31 lead on three baskets by Nadir and one each by Shalaya Heath and Roberts. Gabby Kline came up with a rebound after a pair of missed free throws and banked the ball in to make it 47-42 but Harness answered with a bucket to cut Northmont’s lead to 47-44 entering the fourth quarter.
Cooper came up with another steal and took the ball in for a score to give Northmont a 62-57 advantage. With 1:45 remaining Macy Berner scored and drew a foul by Roberts and sank the bonus shot to put Tecumseh up 66-64. From there the Lady Arrows converted 8 of 12 free throws in the final minute and a half to secure a seven point victory.
Tecumseh will advance to face Lebanon (18-4) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Troy.
“If a couple of things went our way things might have been different,” said Northmont Coach Bethany Kincer. “We had Cooper end up getting hurt and that was a factor because she is a big presence in the game for us. Tecumseh knocked down some free throws and we missed a couple. Our game plan worked. We played really well. We said we were going to make Tecumseh’s other kids step up besides Thomas and Griffitts and they did. They stepped up really well. It is a tough team to lose to in the first round. We wanted to take it to them and see what we could do. I am proud of the girls and the way that they played. The seniors that I came in with, the first year I started coaching they were freshmen, I am proud of everything they put forth and into this program. They are definitely going to leave a legacy behind.”
NMT 16 30 47 67 – 67
TEC 12 26 44 74 – 74
Northmont: Makayla Cooper 6-4-17, Kaitlyn McCrary 1-0-2, Jenna Hoschouer 2-2-6, Anna Mangen 1-0-3, Salena Roberts 2-1-5, Camryn Nadir 7-2-16, Shalaya Heath 6-4-16, Gabby Kline 1-0-2. Totals: 26-13-67.
Tecumseh: Mackenzie Pauley 5-0-15, Macy Berner 7-2-16, Corinne Thomas 3-15-21, Terah Harness 7-2-16, Presley Griffitts 2-2-6. Totals: 24-21-74.
3-point goals: Northmont 2 (Cooper, Mangen); Tecumseh 3 (Pauley 3).
Records: Northmont 11-12, Tecumseh 18-5.