ELYRIA — Jessie Lee was in the right place at the right time for Elyria Catholic on Saturday afternoon.
Her putback as time expired gave the Panthers a 39-37 West Shore Conference win over Bay. EC improved to 11-2 overall and 5-2 in league play, while Bay fell to 3-7 overall and 1-5.
“She’s a big, athletic kid and goes after the ball,” said EC coach Eric Rothgery of his 5-foot-11 freshman post. “She was in foul trouble the whole time and that put us in a little bit of a hurt. We have to play through those type of things.”
Lee, who picked up two fouls right off the bat in the first quarter and finished with four personals, positioned herself under the basket as sophomore Riley Schill tried to hit a shot from the far right wing. It missed to the right, but Lee managed to grab it and toss it in to beat the buzzer.
It was her 11th rebound of the game and her biggest.
“She’s a tough kid,” Bay’s first-year coach Brian Hill said of Lee. “As a freshman, it’s unbelievable what she’s done. For us to hold Schill to that shot she had taken and for Jess to have that putback. … unfortunately, it didn’t bounce our way.”
EC jumped in front 10-0 and led 34-24 following Schill’s 3-pointer to start the final quarter, but the Rockets whittled the lead to 34-31 off baskets by Aubrey Rohlke, Nora Ziebarth and 3-pointer from Rachel Jerome with 5:25 still to play.
“Our big problem this entire year is we’ve been digging ourselves big holes,” Hill said. “At halftime, we’re down nine but we turned it around and caught up in the fourth quarter.”
Bay tied the game twice — at 35 on a Ziebarth layup and at 37 on a Laura Wilson layup following Schill’s pull-up jumper in the lane. The Rockets had the ball with a chance to win in the final seconds but a traveling violation gave the Panthers possession with 10.7 seconds remaining.
Ziebarth led the Rockets with 14 points while Jerome had nine on three 3-pointers.
“(Bay) never gave up,” Rothgery said. “You know it’s not a game where only one team’s trying to win. They’re good, hard-working kids and they knocked down a couple shots. We come down and don’t convert. It’s about not making baskets and defending the basket.
“We did enough to win. I don’t want to make an excuse about us being a young team but sometimes with a young team, you’re almost better to have games like this. We just couldn’t put them away.”
Schill led the way with 18 points but the Panthers were held to just 16 points the second half. Neither team had a particularly good shooting day, but EC was under 30 percent from the floor and the free throw line.
“We’re right there,” Rothgery said of the league. “We’re just trying to teach our girls how to win.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 39, Bay 37
BAY (37): Rachel Jerome 3-0-9, Lauren Heldt 0-0-0, Maddie Holmes 0-0-0, Nora Ziebarth 6-2-14, Ellen Hanna 1-0-2, Laura Wilson 3-0-6, Liz Burns 0-0-0, Aubrey Rohlke 3-0-6, Emma Grubaugh 0-0-0, Dakota Meisenburg 0-0-0. Totals 16-2-37.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (39): Julia Scarpelli 0-0-0, Riley Schill 7-1-18, Nora Hopkins 1-0-3, Becky Horvath 1-0-2, Jessie Lee 4-0-8, Rachel Cairns 1-0-2, Josie Carangdang 2-0-5, Margot Novak 0-0-0, Kristen Konno 0-0-0, Natalie Tremont 0-0-0, Sam Filiaggi 0-0-0, Meredith Ternes 0-1-1. Totals 16-2-39.
Bay 6 8 10 13 — 37
Elyria Catholic 12 11 8 8 — 39
Three-point goals: Bay 3-12 (Jerome 3), Elyria Catholic 5-19 (Schill 3, Hopkins, Carandang). Field goals: Bay 16-43 (37 percent), Elyria Catholic 16-55 (29 percent). Free throws: Bay 2-10 (20 percent), Elyria Catholic 2-8 (25 percent). Rebounds: Bay 36 (Ziebarth 9), Elyria Catholic 36 (Lee 11). Turnovers: Bay 17, Elyria Catholic 13. Fouls: Bay 11, Elyria Catholic 19.
Junior varsity: Bay, 37-15