SIDNEY — Botkins lost a double-digit lead in a Division IV sectional opener on Thursday at Sidney High School but managed to rally in overtime to earn a 53-50 victory over Mechanicsburg.
The No. 2 seed Trojans (16-7) lost to the Indians 59-29 in a district semifinal last year in Sidney. Mechanicsburg was voted the No. 3 seed in this year’s draw and jumped on Botkins for a first-round matchup instead of placing itself elsewhere in the bracket to potentially set up a district semifinal rematch.
Botkins advances to face Shelby County Athletic League rival Houston (11-11) in a sectional final on Wednesday in Sidney. The Trojans won both SCAL matchups in regular season.
The Indians rallied from a deficit as large as 16 points in the first half to force overtime with a 45-45 tie and scored the first three points in the extra period.
Leading scorer Grace Forrest fouled out soon after, and the Trojans stormed back in the final minute. Boston Paul hit a 3-pointer to break a tie and put the Trojans ahead, then followed soon after with a steal and a layup that gave the squad a 53-48 lead with about 45 seconds left.
The Indians hit a pair of late free throws to pull within three points and got the ball back but struggled on their final possession, ultimately settling for an baseline jumper inside the arc that was missed with a couple of seconds left.
Carmen Heuker led the Trojans with 19 points while Paul finished with 12.
Botkins scored the game’s first seven points. The Indians pulled within 13-9 late in the first, but Makenna Maurer and Melanie Maurer hit 3-pointers in the final minute to push the Trojans’ lead to 10 points heading into the second.
Heuker scored six points in the second to lead a 15-9 scoring edge that gave the squad a 34-18 lead at halftime, but the Indians battled back.
Forrest scored eight points in the third to lead an 11-3 scoring edge that closed the gap to 37-29, then scored seven in the fourth to lead a 16-8 advantage. She hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with pressure from three defenders with about five seconds left to tie it.
Forrest, a senior guard who averages 20 points per game, led Mechanicsburg with 27 points. The Indians finish 14-7 overall.
Russia 61, Riverside 17
The Raiders cruised to a running-clock victory in Thursday’s first sectional semifinal in Sidney.
Russia took a 20-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and used a 22-6 scoring advantage in the second to push its lead to 42-9 at halftime.
The entire second half was played with a running clock due to the margin being 30 points or greater. The Raiders finished with a 15-5 advantage in the third and 4-3 advantage in the fourth.
Ashley Scott led the Raiders (15-9) with 16 points. Simone Puthoff scored 12 points, Cece Borchers scored nine and Ella Hoehne scored seven.
Senior guard Lauryn Sanford led Riverside with eight points. She’s one of five players the Pirates will lose to graduation.
Riverside, which earned a share of the Northwest Central Conference title this year, finishes 14-6.
Russia advances to face Lehman Catholic (7-13) in a D-IV sectional final on Tuesday in Sidney.
REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
Houston 56, Mississinawa Valley 48
The Wildcats finished regular-season play with a nonconference victory on Thursday in Union City.
The teams were tied 13-13 at the end of the first quarter but Houston used a 15-7 scoring advantage in the second to take a 28-20 halftime lead. The Blackhawks cut the gap with an 18-14 advantage in the third, but the Wildcats finished with a 14-10 advantage in the fourth.
Amber Stangel led Houston (11-11) with 14 points while Megan Maier scored 11 and Emma Kemp scored eight.
Minster 54, Coldwater 25
The Wildcats finished Midwest Athletic Conference play undefeated by beating Coldwater on Thursday in Minster.
Minster took a 14-5 lead by the end of the first quarter and outscored the Cavaliers 11-8 in the second, 14-8 in the third and 15-4 in the fourth.
Ivy Wolf led Minster (21-1, 9-0) with 23 points and five assists while Janae Hoying scored 14 points. The Wildcats shot 21 for 57 (37 percent) from the floor and forced Coldwater into 24 turnovers.
New Knoxville 51, New Bremen 36
The Cardinals lost a MAC game on Thursday in New Bremen.
New Bremen built a 10-8 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 22-17 at halftime but couldn’t hold on in the second half. The Rangers cut the gap a bit with a 14-12 advantage in the third, then stormed back and ran away with a 20-2 advantage in the fourth.
Riley Trentman led New Bremen (12-9, 5-4) with nine points while Aliyah Truman scored seven.
The Cardinals shot 12 for 33 (37 percent) from the floor and were outrebounded 26-21. They also committed 19 turnovers.
With the loss, the squad finished fifth in MAC play.