ELYRIA — Even missing two starting guards, Open Door took a six-point halftime lead on Akron’s Our Lady of the Elms on Thursday afternoon.
Unfortunately, from a Patriots point of view, it didn’t hold up.
With a mix of defenses, the Panthers forced nine third-quarter turnovers, got a 3-point basket and seven points from Rachel Coury and cut the margin to two points going into the final eight minutes.
Coury continued to sparkle with a nine-point fourth and the 3-16 Panthers pulled away for a 46-37 win.
Was it a portent of things to come? The teams will meet again Feb. 16 in a Division IV sectional tournament opener at Norwayne. By then, Open Door (10-9) is expected to have guards Bri Rodgers (ankle) and Danielle Turner (knee) back in action.
The rematch could take a different turn.
The Panthers took a 5-0 lead and were up 5-4 after a quarter. But Open Door engineered an 8-3 run to open the second period and followed it with an 8-2 spurt to forge its halftime lead.
In the process, six Patriots scored as Brooke Camera and Christa Mindling put up four points apiece.
Elms’ Coury, a junior, went to work after the break.
She scored seven points in the third, including the first of her two threes, and came back with nine points in the fourth, including another three and a pair of foul shots.
Her 3-pointer with 6:21 left in the game gave the Panthers a 33-31 lead and they never trailed again.
“It was great,” said Coury, who scored a game-high 20 points, including 16 the second half. “With all that energy, we were able to get the ball up the floor and be quick. We were all working together and the energy from the bench was there.”
Open Door’s Mindling, who finished with a team-high 10 points, hit two baskets within two minutes in the late going. The second pulled the Patriots within 38-37 with 2:58 to play.
But Elms countered with an offense designed to burn time, while creating chances for easy baskets. And when the Panthers found junior Skylar Beck alone under the hoop in the final two minutes, Beck made a layup for a 41-37 lead, which sealed it.
“We had a lot of missed opportunities and a lot of turnovers (29),” Patriots coach Bud Turner said. “But we play them in the tournament and I think we’ll be OK. We hung with them today and I saw a lot of positives in what we did.”
Elms coach Heather Giel, who guided the Panthers to a district championship last season, said her team is in rebuilding mode.
“We’ve grown as a team,” she said. “We’ve had to make adjustments, break some barriers and stick to the fundamentals of basketball.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Lady of the Elms 46, Open Door 37
ELMS (46): Rachel Coury 8-2-20, Skylar Beck 1-0-2, Abby Collins 3-1-7, Danielle Rogers 1-0-2, Maura Farr 0-0-0, Rachel Tustin 0-2-2, Taylor Schmidt 0-0-0, Melanie LaFlame 3-0-7, Jada Moore 0-4-4, Jazmine Colvin 0-0-0, Kelsey Frew 0-2-2. Totals 16-11-46.
OPEN DOOR (37): Siomara Elliott 0-0-0, Brooke Camera 2-2-6, Alexis Werley 3-1-7, Christa Mindling 5-0-10, Lauren Turner 1-0-2, Jordan Newkirk 0-0-0, Brianna Bryant 0-0-0, Valerie Kayanja 4-0-8, Elizabeth Nejadfard 2-0-4. Totals 17-3-37.
Elms 5 9 13 19 — 46
Open Door 4 16 9 8 — 37
Three-point goals: Elms 3-9 (Coury 2, LaFlame), Open Door 0-4. Field goals: Elms 16-80 (20 percent), Open Door 17-57 (29.8 percent); Free throws: Elms 11-21, Open Door 3-10. Rebounds: Elms 57, Open Door 52. Turnovers: Elms 13, Open Door 29.