Starting off slow offensively, the No. 3-seeded Reedsville girls basketball team mounted a second-half rally but couldn’t overcome the late 3-point shooting by host No. 2 Oshkosh Lourdes in a 54-48 WIAA Division 4 State Girls Basketball Tournament regional championship loss on Saturday night.
The Panthers had two leads in the game – once at 11-10 after a Shelby Otto layup with 5:30 left in the first half and the other when Brenna Kiekhaefer made two free throws to give Reedsville a 38-36 lead with four minutes left in the game.
For the most part, though, Oshkosh Lourdes made their open looks as the Panthers struggled at the line and couldn’t keep up when it came to 3-pointers. The Knights made eight 3’s in the game while Reedsville had one. The Panthers were 13-of-21 on free throws to Oshkosh’s 16-of-21 performance.
Reedsville got down 8-2 with three minutes left in the first quarter, but Shelby Otto scored five points to cut the Panthers’ deficit to 10-5 entering the second quarter.
“They came out in a 1-3-1 zone and we struggled with that. We tried, but we just struggled getting the ball inside,” Reedsville coach Paul Ourada said. “Their length hurt us and didn’t allow us to go where we wanted to go. But we battled, they’re just an excellent shooting team.”
Otto went on to have 13 points in the game, and her 11 in the first half helped keep Reedsville within reach of the Knights, who led 24-18 at halftime after making a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the second quarter. Also in double figures for Reedsville in scoring was Riley Grimm and Kiekhaefer who each had 11 points.
“We just missed a lot of shots, free throws, things that we normally make,” Ourada said.
With Reedsville’s offense in rhythm, though, Otto picked up her third foul with 5:20 left in the third quarter as the Panthers trailed 26-20. Teammate Kayla Sheahan responded with her only points in the game, and the Panthers’ only 3-pointer, to make it 26-25 with 3:45 left in the third quarter.
Oshkosh answered with another 3-pointer as Otto and teammate and fellow starter Lauren Holschbach picked up their fourth fouls in the closing minutes of the third and the Panthers trailed 32-29 entering the fourth.
“You have to give them credit, (Oshkosh) played great,” Ourada said. “Shelby is so dominant, so it was tough (when she got in foul trouble). It’s hard to practice for that. We rely on her so much.”
With 5:11 left in the game, Grimm made a layup to tie the game at 36-36, but Oshkosh made two 3-pointers moments later and sunk critical free throws in the closing minutes of the game to keep Reedsville from moving on in the postseason.
Otto and Holschbach fouled out at the two-minute and one-minute mark, respectively, forcing Reedsville’s offense to struggle again in the game’s final moments.
“We finished 21-3, so that is a heck of year for us. A heck of a year. A lot of people picked us to finish last in the (Olympian Conference) and we won it and got to a regional final and no one expected that,” Ourada said. “We didn’t get respect all year but we’ve earned it now. “
From the conference-championship-winning squad the Panthers will only lose Sheahan, Nichole Mangin and Rachel Reichert to graduation in May.
“This season was a good learning experience for our younger players,” Ourada said. “I expect to get back (to a regional final next year).”
A roster for Lourdes was not provided to the Herald Times Reporter as of press deadline.
Olivia Dietrich 2, Riley Grimm 11, Lauren Holschbach 5, Brenna Kiekhaefer 11, Shelby Otto 13, Hannah Roffers 3, Kayla Sheahan 3.
3-Point Goals – Reedsville 1 (Kayla Sheahan 1), Lourdes 8, Total Fouls – Reedsville 17, Lourdes 17.