PIKETON — A 7-0 run can happen like a light switch on the basketball court.
On Saturday, it was a 7-0 run that helped send the Notre Dame Lady Titans into the program’s seventh straight Division IV district final.
After playing a full four quarters inside the Piketon High School gymnasium, Notre Dame and South Gallia were tied 58-58 — and needed more basketball to decide a winner.
In the overtime period, the Lady Titans shut out South Gallia, and escaped the back-and-forth battle with a 65-58 win to advance to Friday night’s Southeast District 2 final.
“I knew coming into it that this wasn’t going to be like the first game. Two young teams late in the season, it’s neutral. I don’t think we played our best today, but they played a great game,” ND coach J.D. McKenzie said, afterwards. “It was physical and could have went either way, fortunately we were able to make enough plays there at the end to stretch it out.”
As a team, Notre Dame shot 20-of-26 from the foul line.
In the fourth quarter and overtime, the Lady Titans hit 11 of their 15 attempted free throws.
“We got a bucket and it was all about the stops at that point. We were ending possessions with the ball, and then it becomes them trying to extend the game with the free-throw line,” McKenzie said. “Katie Strickland’s free throws in the fourth quarter were huge and kept us in the game, and we were able to win the game at the free-throw line.”
Trailing 26-20 late in the second quarter, the Lady Titans closed the half on a 5-0 run to be down just one point at the break.
Sophomore Gracie Ashley led her team at the break, scoring nine of her 14 points in the first half.
When halftime was over, ND sophomore Ella Kirby knocked down a three-pointer to give the Lady Titans a 28-26 lead.
Sophomore Katie Strickland, junior Annie Dettwiller and Ashley combined to grab 31 of Notre Dame’s 36 rebounds.
ND outrebounded SG by nine (36-27) at game’s end.
“We thought we had an advantage in the post. Got out-rebounded early, then we started getting some post looks and getting the ball in transition. We wanted to be patient and we adapted to some of the defenses they were running. As the game went on, Annie really took over taking the ball to the hole and getting a key and-one.”
Dettwiller led Notre Dame with a team-high 18 points — 16 of which came in the second half on seven made field goals and four-of-six foul shooting.
Strickland scored 16 points for Notre Dame, doing so with six field goals in the second and third periods — and a perfect four-of-four mark at the line in the fourth quarter.
Kirby’s 13 points with three three-pointers meant that four Lady Titans reached double figures, ensuring a balance that McKenzie says helps his entire team get scoring opportunities.
As a team, Notre Dame shot 21-of-48 from the floor — and 18-of-37 from inside the three-point line.
“It makes it tough when they want to run a box-and-one or triangle-and-two because the other girls can score. Whatever they do, we want to be able to have a counter for it. Balance is huge, especially this time of the year,” McKenzie said. “It makes it tougher for opposing teams to try and limit one or two of our scorers, there’s four or five others who are pretty good and can go score when it’s needed.”
For the seventh consecutive season, the Notre Dame Lady Titans will play for a Division IV district championship.
ND will face Waterford on Friday night (Feb. 25) at 9 p.m. — back at Piketon High School in the Southeast Bracket 2 final.
The Lady Titans and Lady Wildcats have met twice before in ND’s seven straight district final appearances — as Friday’s meeting will be the third.
Waterford won both previous matchups — in 2016 (65-26) and more recently in 2021 (35-32).
If the third time is indeed the charm this Friday night, Notre Dame will have won its fourth district title in seven years — and earn a spot in next week’s regional tournament.
“It’s exciting to go back to the district championship. It’s an experience we want these girls to have every year,” McKenzie said. “If you’d told me that we’d be here at the beginning of the year, I’d have said that’d be a huge step for this team. It was a goal, but we don’t want to stop there. These girls are hungry and we’re excited for the opportunity to get to play another game.”
South Gallia 14 12 17 15 0 — 58
Notre Dame 14 11 17 16 7 — 65
South Gallia (16-7) 58
Lindsey Walls 0 0-0 0, Tori Triplett 4 3-4 12, Macie Sanders 2 1-2 6, Josie Rutt 8 1-3 20, Emma Clary 8 1-4 20; TOTALS: 22 6-13 58; Three-point field goals: 8 (Clary and Rutt 3 apiece, Triplett and Sanders 1 apiece)
Notre Dame (20-3) 65
Ella Kirby 4 2-4 13, Kamryn Bradford 0 0-0 0, Annie Dettwiller 7 4-6 18, Annabelle Ball 1 2-2 4, Gracie Ashley 3 8-10 14, Katie Strickland 6 4-4 16; TOTALS: 21 20-26 65; Three-point field goals: 3 (Kirby 3)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved