HOUSTON — Houston’s girls basketball team had lost each of its last four games by at least 14 points and was hoping to break a four-game skid in a nonconference contest on Monday.
The Wildcats ended their streak of lopsided losses — but not their streak of losses.
The Wildcats took Bradford to the wire before the Railroaders came away with a 49-46 victory. Bradford improved 12-6 with the win while Houston dropped to 3-15.
“That is a vastly improved team,” Bradford coach Chris Besecker said about Houston. “We knew this was going to be a tough game.”
Houston coach Brad Allen was not surprised by the battle his team put up.
“I am really proud of the girls,” he said. “They just kept battling, right to the end.”
The game came down to the final minute.
Typical of the back-and-forth in the game, Austy Miller had a basket and two free throws to put Bradford up 45-39 with 3:38 remaining. But two free throws by Megan Maier and a three-point play by Amber Stangel closed the deficit to 45-44 with 1:22 remaining.
After Stangel grabbed a rebound with 30 seconds to go, the Wildcats had the opportunity to go in front. But once again, Miller made the big play in the clutch.
After a jump ball was called, Houston inbounded with 17.6 seconds to go. Miller was able to knock the inbounds pass loose and come up with the steal and was fouled at the other end.
With 12.8 seconds to go, she hit both free throws to put the Railroaders up 47-44, finishing a perfect 6 for 6 from the line for the game.
Houston had one last chance.
A 3-pointer would have tied it, but Booher was fouled with 7.6 seconds to go and hit both free throws to make it 47-46.
“I felt like we had a girl open for a 3 there,” Allen said. “We just didn’t get her the ball.”
On the inbounds, Rylie Canan hauled in the pass near midcourt, then fired it to Abby Gade for a basket as the buzzer sounded, making the final 49-46.
“We really didn’t need it (the basket),” Besecker said. “But, it (the pass and basket) allowed us to run the clock out.”
It was a back-and-forth game all night, with Bradford leading 10-8, 22-19 and 37-34 at the quarter breaks.
The Railroaders had the most success getting the ball inside to freshman post Remi Harleman, who matched Miller with a game-high 16 points.
Allen was happy to hold Miller to five field goals and 16 points. Rylie Canan added eight points.
“She still got some points, but I thought Megan Maier did a great job on her defensively,” Allen said.
Houston’s strength was on the offensive glass. The Wildcats consistently got two and three shots at the offensive end.
“They probably had more offensive rebounds than we had defensive rebounds,” Besecker said with a laugh.
Maier led Houston with 13 points. Rylie Voisard scored 12, Booher added 10 and Stangel scored seven.
“That (rebounding) is something we have been working really hard on,” Allen said.
Houston will play next on Saturday at Fairlawn.
Fort Loramie 66, St. Henry 22
Fort Loramie, which was ranked No. 1 in Division IV in Tuesday’s Associated Press Ohio girls basketball poll, cruised to a nonconference victory on Monday in St. Henry.
Fort Loramie jumped out to a 16-2 lead by the end of the first quarter thanks to hitting 7-of-8 shot attempts. Dana Rose scored seven points in the first quarter and added five more in the second to help power a 17-5 scoring advantage that boosted the lead to 33-7 at halftime.
Fort Loramie outscored St. Henry 13-6 in the third quarter and 20-12 in the fourth.
Rose led Fort Loramie with 16 points while Ava Sholits scored 12 and had five steals. Taylor Ratermann added nine points while Kenzie Hoelscher had a team-high six rebounds and four assists.
Fort Loramie shot 28 for 58 (48 percent) from the floor and outrebounded St. Henry by seven. St. Henry shot 10 for 29 (34 percent) and committed 28 turnovers.
Fort Loramie (17-0) will host Jackson Center on Thursday.
Riverside 59, Marion Elgin 38
The Pirates cruised to a big Northwest Central Conference win on Monday in De Graff.
Riverside took a 15-11 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 28-25 at halftime. The squad pulled away with a 10-5 scoring edge in the third quarter and 21-8 advantage in the fourth.
“We’ve been in a rut lately, and we’ve talked about how most of it is due to a lack of effort on defense for an entire game, and the other main reason was because we haven’t taken good care of the basketball,” Riverside coach Bryce Hodge said. “I’m so proud of how hard the girls played tonight for all four quarters.”
“We also only had eight turnovers, which has been an issue for us this year. We took care of the basketball tonight, played with great effort and made shots when we needed it most. This is the most complete game we’ve played all season, hopefully it’s a sign of things to come as our season winds down here in these last few weeks.”
Lauryn Sanford led Riverside with 19 points and had five rebounds and five assists. Kirstin Schlumbohm scored 13 points and had five rebounds and three steals. Olivia Perk added 12 points and 12 rebounds and Amber Waters scored 10 points and had seven rebounds and five steals.
The Pirates shot 26 for 61 (42.6 percent) from the field and outrebounded Elgin 31-17.
Riverside (8-9, 5-1 NWCC) will host Urbana on Thursday.
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