By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
SIDNEY — Lehman Catholic coach Craig Hall knew how dangerous an opponent the Cavaliers faced Saturday in Sidney D-IV sectional action — and that appearances were deceiving.
The fourth seed Cavaliers took a 16-6 record into the game with ninth seeded Houston, 6-16. And Lehman owned a 45-28 win over the Wildcats earlier this season.
But, this was a very different Houston team — and the Wildcats came away with a 53-50 win in first round action, ending Lehman’s season.
“Give them (Houston) credit,” Hall said. “He (Brad Allen) always has them ready to play. It just felt like we were overconfident at the start. I told the girls the first four minutes were going to be the key. And it didn’t go well.”
Allen was elated with the win.
“We started the season 0-10,” Allen said. “We are 6-6 in our last 12 games. I am so proud of the girls. They have worked really hard.”
It was a back-and-forth battle all day.
Lehman led 15-11 after one quarter and 22-21 at halftime, before Houston took a 39-37 lead after three quarters.
And despite Rylie McIver and Lauren McFarland fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, Lehman was still in position to win the game.
McFarland had tied it with a three at 45 before fouling out.
Heidi Toner twice broke ties with baskets, only to have Megan Maier answered with two free throws each time to make it 49-49.
Unfortunately, Lehman’s chances the rest of the game came from the line.
With a chance to open up a lead, the Cavaliers went 1-for-6 from the line on its next three possessions.
“It has been our bugaboo all season and it was again today,” Hall said. “We work on it a lot in practice, but it has been our achilles heal all season. I told the girls it was going to cost us.”
Twice, Lehman went to the line with a 50-49 lead and missed both attempts each time.
With Lehman leading 50-49, Houston’s Maier drilled a three from the corner with less than 20 seconds to go to make it 52-50.
“The plan was to go to Megan (Maier) in the corner if she was open,” Allen said. “If not, we were going to kick it inside. Megan (Maier) made some big threes, then hit that 3-pointer.”
Hall called timeout with 17.8 seconds left, but Houston was able to tie them up with 8.3 seconds left, receiving the ball on the possession arrow.
Maier was immediately fouled and hit one of two free throws to make it 53-50.
Lehman’s desperation shot at the buzzer was off the mark, giving the Wildcats the win.
It was the final game for McIver, McFarland and Hope Anthony.
“It is tough,” Hall said. “We had a good season. We have Anna Cianciolo back and Heidi Toner is just a sophomore. Heidi had a great game today. She has so much potential and hopefully, she will keep working at it.”
Toner was the bright spot for Lehman Saturday, with a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
McIver has 12 points, six rebounds and six steals; while McFarland had 11 points and four steals.
Cianciolo had six points, four assists and three steals.
Maier, just a sophomore, had a huge game for Houston with 22 points.
Taylor Maxwell had eight points and Amber Stangel, Rylie Voisard and Mariah Booher all scored seven.
Contact Rob Kiser at [email protected].
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