Tied 12-12 at the half, horrendous shooting marked the Division championship game, won by Waterford in a breath-taking finish.
Columbus – For the first 16 minutes it looked every bit like the state championship that nobody wanted.
Waterford, a team desperately trying to atone for missed opportunity in last year’s Division IV final, scored but 12 points…and shot a whopping 16% from the field (4 of 25).
Fostoria Wendelin, the happy-to-be-here dark horse that knocked out Jackson Center on Thursday behind the 24-point performance of center Kamryn Troike…are you ready?…matched the 12-point outburst of Waterford, shooting less, but with a higher percentage (44%).
Wendelin had more turnovers than points…17 to 9.
And Waterford, well, the Wildcats just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop.
That, for an opening to a state championship game….
Neither team scored its 20th point until the 5:00 mark of the fourth quarter when Waterford’s Dani Drayer hit a three-pointer to give her team a 20-18 lead.
But Wendelin’s Allie Rutter answered a moment later, 21-20, for Fostoria.
From that point the game became a succession of turnovers, fouls and free throws. The harder the two teams tried to play…the worse they played.
Drayer hit a pair of free throws.
Rutter hit another three.
Waterford answered with a prayer heave from under the rim that ricocheted and went in.
Troike answered at the other end…27-27…with 30 seconds left.
Waterford turned the ball over…for the 12th time in the game.
But St. Wendelin came down with 20 seconds and turned it over again…for the 27th time in the game.
Megan Ball picked up the ball for Waterford and raced the length of the floor to hit a layup with seven seconds…29-27.
St. Wendelin had one last chance. They got the ball into the post to Troike, whose wide open shot rolled around the rim and fell off as the clock expired. Game over….29-27 Waterford!
As to the title of this story…Waterford finished the game shooting 18.8% from the floor (42 missed shots for the game), 15.4% from three-point range, and 70% from the line (7 0f 10).
St. Wendelin finished shooting 43.4%, but turned the ball over 27 times, the second time on Championship Saturday when the losing team had as many turnovers as points.
To their credit, both teams fought like demons to win a title. They just couldn’t score.