CRESTLINE — For the second time this season, Crestline and Galion played a tightly contested game and for the second time, the Lady Bulldogs came up with a win.
Crestline rallied from an early deficit to pull out a 40-36 win over the Lady Tigers on Friday night. The victory put an end to an 11-game losing streak for the Lady Bulldogs that began on Dec. 19, 2020.
“I’m so happy for these girls,” Crestline head coach Kyle Strauch said. “We had a really rough patch there around Christmas and into New Year’s where we weren’t doing much of anything right. These last two or three weeks, things have been so much better and they’ve been working so much harder. I’m just so happy we were able to get a win tonight, just to show the improvements they’ve made.”
Daija Sewell led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points and also had seven rebounds and five steals. Hannah Delong added 11 points, including what turned out to be the game-winning basket. Ivy Stewart tallied six points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Natalee Perkins paced Galion (2-14) with 12 points, six rebounds, and two steals. Lexi Rush had eight points and four rebounds. Heaven Phelps finished with six points and had two steals.
The fourth period featured four lead changes and three ties before the Lady Bulldogs claimed the lead for good in the final minute. After Phelps knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 36, Delong connected on a shot with 53 seconds left that put Crestline ahead for good, 38-36. Delong hit two foul shots with 26.7 seconds remaining to provide the final margin of victory for Crestline.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter — Perkins scored the first basket of the game at the 3:35 mark and Crestline didn’t get on the scoreboard until 1:18 remained in the period when Sewell hit two foul shots — but Galion held a 9-2 advantage, forcing five Crestline turnovers to build the lead. Perkins scored five points during a 7-0 Galion run in the middle of the opening period.
“I thought we started out very well tonight,” Galion head coach Shani Rush said. “We came out with a lot of energy even though we played a tough game the night before.”
Business picked up in the second period as Crestline outscored Galion 17-9 to grab a 19-18 halftime edge. Sewell and Stewart each scored six points in the period to pace the Lady Bulldogs comeback.
“Effort. It was effort,” Strauch said when asked what made the difference for Crestline in the second period. “We came out a little sluggish on both sides of the court. We were tentative. I thought Daija Sewell really set the tone for us. She got aggressive near the end of the first quarter, beginning of the second, and it just freed everybody up. She played an unbelievable game on both ends of the court.”
Rush said playing physical games on consecutive nights took its toll on the Lady Tigers in the second half.
“Mentally, I think we started slipping in the second half,” Rush said. “Playing back to back is tough, but they have to come out and play tough and do it.”
Rush said the Lady Tigers have shown improvement over the course of the season and the team is still focused on several goals before the postseason starts.
“Our chemistry is better. In the beginning of the year, we had so many quarantines and we never got a flow,” Rush said. “We’ve definitely improved. … We have a lot of games coming up and some goals we want to achieve. We want to get a (Mid Ohio Athletic Conference) win this year and we want to win our non-conference games. That’s what we’re focusing on right now.”
Mansfield Christian 67, Crestline 29
Crestline (3-12) dropped a 67-29 decision to Mansfield Christian on Saturday. Anna Sparks scored 16 points to lead MCS. Kyleah Jones added 14 points and Elle Schmitz had 13 points. Alexis Rippel scored 12 points.
Daija Sewell led Crestline with 11 points. Emma Kirby had nine points. Ivy Stewart added seven points and Hannah Delong had two points.
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