Girls basketball: Centerville tops Sidney; Bellbrook falls to Springfield

TROY — Centerville coach Adam Priefer knew his team’s best chance to beat Sidney in Wednesday night’s Division I tournament game was to make the Yellow Jackets work extra hard for good shots for the their best scorers.

So he devised a triangle-and-two style defense — “We call it something different,” he said — to take away Sidney’s two leading scorers. And Priefer’s defensive scheme proved practically perfect in a 41-34 victory that sent the No. 8 seed Elks into Saturday’s 2 p.m. sectional final against No. 12 Springfield, an upset winner in overtime against No. 3 Bellbrook.

“We were just trying to really frustrate them to try to make Sidney have to do something else rather than what they’re comfortable doing,” Priefer said.

Priefer told his defenders to stick close to junior guards Jordan Scully and Larkyn Vordemark. They average 14 points apiece and are Sidney’s best 3-point shooters. They combined for 14 points. That put the pressure on senior Kiara Hudgins, a pass-first point guard who averages 11 points a game. She scored 11 of her 16 in the first half.

“She was asked to score, defend, get people involved and lead, and she left every ounce of what she had out there today,” Sidney coach Jamal Foster said.

The Elks (15-9) wore down the Yellow Jackets (17-6) with their frustrating defense and patient offense. A back-and-forth game finally broke in the Elks’ favor during a 12-3 run over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter that put the Elks up 37-29.

During the run point guard Kaitlyn Palomino assisted on three straight baskets. Twice she penetrated the lane and passed off to Emily Grim for layups. Grim scored a team-high 15 points. Then Palomino kicked a pass out to Caroline McDowell for a 3-pointer that broke a 29-29 tie.

“She did a great job of dictating the tempo and seeing the gap and attacking right when she needed to attack to put their defense on their heels,” Priefer said.

Springfield 57, Bellbrook 55, OT: The Golden Eagles got the worst possible break in Saturday’s first-round win against Miamisburg. Leading scorer and three-time Southwestern Buckeye League player of the year Taylor Scohy sprained the MCL in her left knee and was lost for the season.

Still, the Golden Eagles (16-8) had their chances against Springfield, which won its first tournament game since 2018. Turnovers, missed layups and too many fouls cost Bellbrook chances to win late in regulation and overtime. The Wildcats (13-10) scored the first five points of overtime. But Lauren Fabrick scored of a steal by Emmie Sears and Alayna Meyer got open of a screen for a tying 3-pointer.

Springfield answered with a basket from sophomore Milly Portis and enough free throws and defensive stops to end Bellbrook’s season much sooner than it expected. Like Sidney, the Golden Eagles were looking for that breakthrough run to play for a district title.

“They stepped up for their fallen teammate,” Bellbrook coach Jason Tincher said. “We made a ton of mistakes, but I told them I was so proud of the way they competed.”

Doing their best to make up for Scohy’s missing 17 points, Fabrick scored 19 points and Meyer scored 12.

Springfield already had its most victories since the merger of North and South in 2008 and will play for a trip to the district tournament for the first time. The Wildcats start four sophomores and have only one senior on the roster. Sophomores Portis scored 18, K’leighonna Grable scored 12 and Day’Veonna Boynton scored 10.

Wildcats head coach Terrence Toliver is in his first season and said he has talked all season to his young team about handling the emotions of a close game.

“You know you’re going to make mistakes and teams are going to make their run,” he said. “It’s just all about believing in yourself, believing in the system and being a little bit more resilient when the games are bigger and just playing together and trying to maintain the level of focus.”

About the Author