September 1, 2014

Elyria
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Girls basketball: Panthers send off seniors with victory in home finale

ELYRIA — The girls who played on Elyria Catholic’s only Final Four squad bid farewell to their home court Wednesday night.

They said goodbye with emphasis.

With seniors Karissa McGrath and Brittney McNamara scoring 16 and 13 points, respectively, the Panthers rolled over Bay, 49-28, in a West Shore Conference finale. With the win, EC (18-4, 11-3) secured second place in the WSC behind Lakewood.

The Panthers’ seniors — McGrath, McNamara, Erin Herschelman and Shannon Hopkins — all started following the team’s annual Senior Night ceremony.

Unless it finds unexpected postseason magic, Bay (9-12, 6-8) will finish below .500 for the first time in coach Chris Brewer’s 10 seasons.

While they never led, the Rockets kept it close for a quarter, closing the gap to 13-9 after eight minutes. EC’s Becky Horvath, a freshman guard, came off the bench to score seven points. McNamara scored five, including the first of her and the Panthers’ three 3-point baskets.

McNamara added another three in the second quarter and McGrath scored four of her game-high 16 points. The
5-foot-9 McGrath scored 12 points in the second half, eight in the third quarter. For the night, she put up another double-double, collaring a game-high 13 rebounds.

It was a happy-sad night for McNamara’s and McGrath’s final home game.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” McNamara said. “There are a lot of emotions that go into it, being sad and happy. There are all those mixed emotions and it’s just been a great opportunity to come here and play for coach (Eric) Rothgery. It hurts a little bit, but I also realize I’m taking a new step in my life.”

McGrath described the night as bitter-sweet.

“I’m excited because we’re going into tournaments and that’s like a whole new season,” she said. “But it’s sad because it’s my last (home) game. Looking ahead to the tournaments, I think we have a pretty good chance of advancing as long as we play our game. I think our season could go on for a while.”

Neither team shot particularly well from the field, Bay making barely one in five of its shots. EC shot 27.6 percent, but made 14 of 19 free throws and earned a big margin on the backboards, 47-32.

“When you play a team like EC and shoot as poorly as we did from the floor, it’s hard to stay with them,” the Rockets’ Brewer said. “Their defense was excellent tonight and any time we got an open look, we just could not knock down shots. Again tonight, the offensive end cost us.”

EC’s Rothgery said he was pleased with the Panthers defensive work.

“We did a pretty good job of getting out on the shooters and jumping some screens,” he said. “I thought our defense was the difference. You give up 28 points, you should win most nights. Offensively, we were a little slow at first. But we were able to knock down some shots. A lot of people got involved, so it was a good night.”

Elyria Catholic 49, Bay 28

BAY (28): Megan Williams 0-0-0, Rachel Jerome 4-0-9, Lauren Heldt 0-0-0, Rachel Williams 1-0-2, Maria Passalacqua 1-1-3, Claire Werblak 1-0-2, Elsye Sopa 0-0-0, Nora Ziebarth 3-1-7, Emma Grubaugh 1-1-3, Ellen Hanna 1-0-2, Aubrey Rohlke 0-0-0. Totals 12-3-28.

ELYRIA CATHOLIC (49): Julia Scarpelli 0-2-2, Josie Carandang 3-0-6, Brittney McNamara 4-2-13, Shannon Hopkins 0-0-0, Brooke Nedrich 0-0-0, Karissa McGrath 5-6-16, Becky Horvath 4-3-11, Emily Millar 0-0-0, Erin Herschelman 0-1-1. Totals 16-14-49.

Bay 9 4 7 8 – 28

Elyria Catholic 13 11 17 8 – 49

Three-point goals: Bay 1-13 (Jerome); Elyria Catholic 3-11 (McNamara 3). Field goals: By 12-57 (21.1 percent); Elyria Catholic 16-58 (27.6 percent). Free throws: Bay 3-9; Elyria Catholic 14-19. Rebounds: Bay 32; Elyria Catholic 47. Turnovers: Bay 8; Elyria Catholic 12.

Junior varsity: Bay, 34-33.

Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or basketball@bobdaniels.info.