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Girls basketball: Alter blasts Bishop Hartley to advance to state final

Steve Blackledge

A seven-time Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association writer of the year, Blackledge spent the final 34 years of a iv-decade career as the primary prep shell author for the Columbus Dispatch. A Delaware, Ohio native, Blackledge graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1982 with degrees in journalism and communications. He served as sports editor of the Wilmington News-Journal for iii-plus years. He also worked at the Lake County Telegraph and the Delaware Gazette. In add-on to the prep beat, Blackledge has covered the Browns, Indians, Reds, Bengals, Columbus Crew and various Ohio State sports.


Kettering Alter clicked on all cylinders, offensively and defensively, in burial Hartley 69-33 in a Division II state semifinal. The Hawks got into a big hole and couldn’t climb out, capping a tremendous run.

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– The Bishop Hartley girls basketball team played – and beat – a handful of state-ranked teams in various divisions during its ride to the Division II land final iv. Among its victims were No. 1-ranked Shelby and No. half dozen Toledo Key Catholic in regional play.

No. 2 Kettering Modify, however, would prove to exist a totally different animal.

“They brought a different type of game and team that we’ve played before,” Hartley 6-pes-3 senior center Ella Brandewie. “We think nosotros’re a really good offensive team, but for some reason it was really, really difficult to become offensive looks confronting them.”

Veteran central Ohio columnist Steve Blackledge writes the OCC and sports at large for Press Pros.

Bringing full-calibration full-court and half-court force per unit area from the commencement, Alter jumped to a huge lead and never took the pedal off the metal en road to a 69-33 rout of the Hawks Thursday at the University of Dayton Loonshit. The final 2:25 was played under a running clock due to the Ohio High School Athletic Clan’s mercy dominion, something not many fans would take foreseen coming in.

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“Nosotros just ran into a very well-coached, well prepared squad,” Hartley motorbus Donald Dennis said. “Nosotros weren’t necessarily surprised with what they showed united states, merely we just didn’t execute against them at all. The biggest challenge was getting our criminal offense started, and when nosotros couldn’t, information technology was tough for united states of america to climb back in the game. It was of import for u.s. to keep the ball in the middle of the floor, simply the pace they brought was far faster than we wanted.”

Alter co-coach Kendal Peck noticed from his scouting reports that Hartley (19-7) preferred to play slower-tempoed games, as its four previous tournament games were in the 40s and 50s.

“We knew we would have to adjust if they got the states into that kind of game, but we prefer to get it upwards and down the floor and become with information technology,” he said. “Getting the quick outset just fed into our confidence and momentum.”

Alter soph Riley Smith shot lights out, led the Knights with 19 points.

Bolstered past a quick, efficient passing game and deadeye perimeter shooting, Modify (27-1) looked similar a well-oiled machine much of the night.

Riley Smith scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Maddie Moody added 14 points and vi boards to pace the Knights (27-i), who volition face Thornville Sheridan (25-3) in the title game at 2 p.k. Saturday. The Generals needed a tournament record three overtimes to crush Norton 68-60 in the starting time semifinal, delaying the nightcap more than than a half-hour.

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Change will be shooting for its fifth title, the others coming in 2008, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Knights as well were runner-ups in 2010 and 2014.

Smith, a half-dozen-2 sophomore, hitting 3 of Alter’due south eight three-signal shots.

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“It was kind of stressful and nerve-racking to sit down so long waiting for the first game to cease,” Smith said, “but nosotros were able to let it all out when we finally got on the court. Having never played on this floor before or in the state tournament, sure, we were nervous. But once I got my beginning three to go, I realized that I like shooting in an loonshit with all this openness.”

Alder’south most impressive area, however, was its defence that came in allowing but 31.9 points per game.

Hartley’s Ella Brandewie exacted some revenge in the second half by stuffing the shot of Alter Karlie Romer.

The Knights forced Hartley into 29 turnovers and 27.9 percentage field goal shooting. Alter also made 17 steals.

“I was really pleased with our defensive effort tonight,” Alter co-coach Christina Hart said. “The kids’ attention to detail throughout the game was but tremendous. As I’m sure you saw, our kids are really unselfish and play for ane another. And given their inexperience on this stage and on this floor, I thought they played actually relaxed and confident. Getting out to a big lead tin aid you do that.”

Brandewie, an Ohio Country volleyball commit, had 10 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks to pace Hartley. But leading scorer Kiki McElrath, who entered with an xviii.0-points per game boilerplate, endured a 2-for-13 nighttime and committed ix turnovers.

“We worked actually difficult to get the brawl out of (McElrath’south) hands,” Peck said. “We thought we might give up a few points in scrambles, only that was a sacrifice nosotros had to make.”

Having built relationships with Dennis and banana Wade Brockwell from their days coaching together at Bexley, and later, Pickerington Central, Peck said he was deplorable to see Hartley go downwards so difficult.

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“Wade and I played each other in the regional at Vandalia and again when he was at Pickerington,” he said. “Nosotros texted all week, and that’s non something you commonly practice with an upcoming opponent. I just wanted to say that it sucked that they lost past xxx. It should have been a meliorate game than that.”

Hartley’southward 8th trip to the final four took a bumpy path. The Hawks started nine-0, so dropped six of ten entering the tournament. A COVID-19 outbreak coupled with untimely injuries was largely responsible for the late slump.

“Information technology was an amazing flavour, that’s for certain,” Dennis said. “It was one of the well-nigh ambitious schedules nosotros’ve always played with half-dozen or 7 land-ranked teams along the way. But so we lost 10 kids and took a tumble. We had a team meeting and the girls had a separate coming together as a fleck of a reset to reverberate on our preseason goals and what we needed to do to achieve them. We needed to effigy out who we were and how we’d get dorsum, and the girls did information technology and never showed any remorse or fear along the style. I’m so proud of them. They earned the right to be in this game.”

Brandewie, who played on the The states Inferior National volleyball team, returns along with McElrath to course what should be another competitive team in 2022-23.

“Last year, we got beat in the regional semis and it proved to be motivation toward what we achieved this year,” Brandewie said. “Losing here in this way is a different kind of hurt and I’m certain it will bulldoze us through the off-season and into adjacent year.”

How it looked from Bella’s view…Hartley’southward Bella Parker gets her shot swatted past Alter’south Maddie Moody in the Div. 2 state semi-last game Thursday at UD Loonshit.

‘The Spot’ Restaurant, in Sidney, is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 2021 OHSAA State Basketball Tournaments on