SHELBY — The Colonel Crawford girls basketball team saw their season come to an end Thursday night in one of the best games you could find around the area.
No. 3 seed Margaretta (20-4) needed a late bucket to defeat Colonel Crawford 55-54 in a Division III district semifinal game at Shelby High School.
Colonel Crawford (15-10) was able to get out to a quick start, leading 19-12 after a quarter. Theresa Dzugan nailed two-three pointers in the opening quarter to start things and scored six for the game total.
At halftime, the Lady Eagles led 30-26 in a very good battle.
Maragretta freshman Eden Palomo scored 10 of her 19 points in the opening quarter. Palomo hit four 3-pointers, all of which were very timely.
“Our kids watch a lot of film and we knew who we had to guard. Their freshman Palomo had a great game. She hurt us,” said Eagles coach Kyle Fenner.
Colonel Crawford shared the ball well and hit shots. Kaylyn Risner led the way with 16 points. Allison Teglovic was not far behind with 12 points, including eight after the intermission.
“Hard to guard when you are balanced. We had people hit shots. Everybody who stepped on the floor tonight probably played their best game,” Fenner proudly added.
After three quarters, Colonel Crawford held on to a narrow 41-38 lead.
Kylie Leibacher scored eight points in the final period for Margaretta, including the game-winning bucket.
This one came as a tough loss for Colonel Crawford who nearly pulled off a second straight upset after beating Hopewell-Loudon for a sectional title.
“Our kids all season long had to fight and scratch,” Fenner said. “We just played for each other and fought for each other. I’m proud of them and it was a great ride. I told them in the locker room it’s going to take awhile and it’s going to sting.”
Margaretta was unable to find much offense until late in the game and coach Eric Kochendoerfer knew that.
“We would have like to play a little faster. First half we thought we were on our game plan. The second half shots weren’t falling and things weren’t going our way,” said Kochendoerfer. “I think they played good solid defense and switching a lot. I think we lost patience. Credit Colonel Crawford for doing a good job.”
Sophomore Kylie Leibacher was tough all night for the Lady Bears. Leibacher led the way for her team with 21 points.
Senior Elliana Schaefer scored 13 for the Bears.
A sectional title and seconds away from a chance at a district title is a great step for the Colonel Crawford program, said Fenner, who also praised her senior class.
“These seniors all played as freshman besides Hannah Plesac,” Fenner said. “Four wins as freshmen and got the crap beat out of them. Came back their sophomore year and won 14 games and 15 the next year. Really wanted to hang a number on the banner in the gym and win a sectional championship. They took the next step this year. I’m so proud of them and I’m going to miss them.”
Margaretta will now face No. 1 seed Willard in the district championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Shelby High School. The Crimson Flashes rolled past No. 4 Carey 57-44 in the other semifinal contest on Thursday.
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