Close win over Riverside a wakeup call for Botkins heading into rematch against Russia


Teams got wakeup calls in Tuesday’s sectional semifinal games

By Bryant Billing - [email protected]



Riverside’s Marissa Davis shoots as Botkins’ Sarah Bergman defends during a sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Sidney. Davis helped bottle up Botkins’ post game, as she had 10 points, 11 rebounds and several blocks.

Riverside’s Marissa Davis shoots as Botkins’ Sarah Bergman defends during a sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Sidney. Davis helped bottle up Botkins’ post game, as she had 10 points, 11 rebounds and several blocks.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia’s Andrea Monnin, left, holds on to the ball while Mississinawa Valley’s Kya Lavy tries to steal during a sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Sidney.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY — Russia and Botkins didn’t necessarily learn anything new in Division IV sectional semifinals on Tuesday at Sidney, but the two squads got reminders of things they need to fix before meeting in a sectional final on Saturday.

Botkins survived two late shot attempts by Riverside to win 30-28 and advance to Saturday’s final against Russia, which beat Mississinawa Valley 77-23.

The No. 4 seed Trojans (15-9) got off to a hot start and amassed a 17-10 lead. They cooled off after the first 12 minutes and didn’t score from the mid-point in the second quarter until near the 2:00 mark in the third, during which time Riverside scored 11 points to take a 21-17 lead.

“We weren’t clicking on all cylinders there, and we’ve had that happen before,” Botkins coach Mike Maurer said. “You’ve got to be clicking on all cylinders to take down a team like Russia. It’s going to take a high-intensity effort by us. Russia is one of the class of the area.”

Russia (19-5) knows the Trojans can be tough to stop when their offense is moving well. The No. 2 seed Raiders, which swept the Trojans in two regular season Shelby County Athletic League games, trailed 23-17 in the teams’ first matchup on Dec. 21 at Botkins but picked up the defensive pressure in the second half and used a 20-4 run to take control in an eventual 45-32 win.

It’s one of several slow starts Russia has had during games this season. The Raiders trailed Mississinawa Valley 6-5 midway through the first quarter before going on a 20-3 run over the next seven minutes to take control.

“We can’t have (a slow start) against them again,” Russia coach Andy Timmerman said. “If we have that, it’s going to be an uphill battle the rest of the game because they play well. They’ve been playing really well as a team.”

Both squads have been playing well late in the season. Botkins has won four of its last five games and Russia has won its last six.

“I think for a lot of our players in the last several weeks, confidence has been the big thing,” Timmerman said. “In the last three weeks or so, we’ve finally believed in ourselves a little bit more and are counting on each other instead of playing individually.”

Botkins is led by 6-foot-2 senior forward Sarah Bergman, who averages 15 points and eight rebounds per game. She’ll once again be matched up with Russia post Laurissa Poling. Poling, a 6-0 junior, averages 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. She had 20 points and 14 rebounds the December win over Botkins.

Both teams have several guards who’ve stepped up to lead the team in scoring. Among them is Botkins senior Paige Lane (13 points per game) and Russia junior Jenna Cordonnier (9.7).

“Sarah and Paige play really well, and when Paige hits some 3s to get confident, their team really gets rolling,” Timmerman said.

Maurer said he thinks the teams match up well, but said Botkins will need a consistent effort to beat the Raiders.

“We can’t get in a lull where we settle for 3s and don’t look inside,” Maurer said. “That nearly cost us tonight.”

Riverside pleased with effort

Two late Riverside shots nearly kept Botkins out of the sectional final. Junior guard Dana Jones shot a 3-pointer with about three seconds left, and junior center Kalin Kreglow missed a put-back attempt.

Riverside coach Danielle King said it was a gutsy effort for the Pirates. Riverside ran a zone defense which largely clogged the middle and prevented Bergman from getting many shots. Bergman finished with 10 points (eight of which came in the first quarter) and Lane scored eight.

“We just wanted them to take outside shots,” King said. “We had that game plan early but just weren’t sticking to it. We did that later on. Two of their best scorers weren’t going to score, and everybody else was if they were going to beat us.”

Marissa Davis led Riverside with 10 points and 11 rebounds. She finished the season with an average of 12.7 points and 10 rebounds per game.

“She just works her but off,” King said. “She does such a great job offensively and defensively. I’m really proud of her.”

The Pirates finished 10-13 and won seven out of their last 11 games.

“I tip my hat off to them,” Maurer said. “This is one of those games where both teams deserve to win. One’s lucky enough to get the victory, and we’re the fortunate ones to get the victory.”

Riverside’s Marissa Davis shoots as Botkins’ Sarah Bergman defends during a sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Sidney. Davis helped bottle up Botkins’ post game, as she had 10 points, 11 rebounds and several blocks.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2018/02/web1_SDN022118BotGbbLG2-1.jpgRiverside’s Marissa Davis shoots as Botkins’ Sarah Bergman defends during a sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Sidney. Davis helped bottle up Botkins’ post game, as she had 10 points, 11 rebounds and several blocks. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia’s Andrea Monnin, left, holds on to the ball while Mississinawa Valley’s Kya Lavy tries to steal during a sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Sidney.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2018/02/web1_SDN022118RusGbbLG2-1.jpgRussia’s Andrea Monnin, left, holds on to the ball while Mississinawa Valley’s Kya Lavy tries to steal during a sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Sidney. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Teams got wakeup calls in Tuesday’s sectional semifinal games

By Bryant Billing

[email protected]

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.