COLUMBUS — The Miami Trace Lady Panthers made the program’s second appearance in the State Final Four Thursday, taking on Hathaway Brown School.
It was a terrific start for Miami Trace in front of a large crowd of supporters from Fayette County at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
The Lady Panthers led for 27 minutes and eight seconds of game play.
Unfortunately, the Blazers were able to catch up with and then pass Miami Trace with a 14-2 run, part of an overall 20-8 fourth quarter to go on to take the win, 48-40.
Miami Trace ends the season with a record of 24-5.
The loss breaks a 10-game winning streak for the Lady Panthers.
Hathaway Brown improves to 18-10 and will play Kettering Archbishop Alter back at the Schottenstein Center at 10:45 a.m. Saturday. Alter was forced into overtime before defeating Ottawa-Glandorf, 50-43 in Thursday’s first State semifinal.
Junior Tanner Bryant was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points. She had a fine all-around game with a double-double, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Junior Victoria Fliehman scored 12 points and was second on the team in rebounds with five.
Sophomore Cassidy Lovett scored six points, senior Hanna Reisinger hit one three-point field goal for three points and freshman Shaylee McDonald scored two points.
Sophomore Olivia Wolffe and senior Samantha Ritenour also played in the game.
Dani Lawson (a 6-2 senior post player who has signed with Purdue) led the Blazers with 16 points and shared game rebounding honors with junior Hanna Harlor, each with 14. Harlor also scored eight points.
Freshman Kaydan Lawson scored 10 points, junior Jackie Carman had nine points, junior Sydney Radke scored three and pulled down several key offensive rebounds late in the game, and junior Katie Aris chipped in two points.
Bryant hit the first basket of the game for Miami Trace 50 seconds into the contest.
Fliehman hit a three-point shot to give the Lady Panthers a 5-1 lead.
Lovett’s two free throws pushed Miami Trace’s lead up to six, at 7-1.
After a basket from the Blazers, Lovett scored again to make it 9-3, which was the score at the end of the first quarter.
Miami Trace continued on a roll to start the second quarter.
Reisinger hit a three and Bryant scored after a Blazers’ turnover to make it 14-3 with five minutes to play until halftime.
After Hathaway Brown scored, Bryant scored to make it 16-5, Lady Panthers.
After Fliehman scored and the Blazers scored with two free throws and then a field goal, Miami Trace was up by five, 18-13 with 2:27 to go until the break.
Bryant and Fliehman scored again and Bryant hit a free throw to give Miami Trace a 23-15 halftime lead.
The game stayed close in the third quarter, but Hathaway Brown was able to cut into Miami Trace’s lead.
Miami Trace led again by 11 points (their biggest lead of the game), 28-17 with 5:40 to play in the third.
In the latter stages of the third quarter, Hathaway Brown kept creeping closer to the Lady Panthers.
An 8-0 run brought them to within two points, 30-28 with with 36 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Bryant scored at the buzzer to give Miami Trace a 32-28 lead with eight minutes remaining.
The fourth quarter was most unkind to the Lady Panthers.
Hathaway Brown came storming back with 20 points to 8 to take the win, 48-40.
Before that, Miami Trace led by six points, 36-30 with 6:27 to play in the game.
Hathaway Brown got to within two, but Bryant had a rebound and put-back to make it 38-34 five minutes minutes remaining.
The Blazers tied the game, 38-38 with 4:02 to play.
Hathaway Brown took their first lead of the game with 3:10 to play. It was a lead they would not relinquish.
McDonald scored her first basket of the game, the final basket, as it turned out, for Miami Trace on the season, tying the game, 40-40 with 2:52 to play.
Unfortunately, Miami Trace missed their final seven shots while Hathaway Brown scored eight points in the final 2:28 to post the 48-40 lead.
Looking at the statistics, the most glaring numbers were in the rebounding category.
Hathaway Brown had 46 total rebounds, including 19 offensive, to 26 for Miami Trace (8 offensive).
Miami Trace went 14 of 47 from the floor for 30 percent.
Hathaway Brown was 16 of 48 for 33 percent.
Miami Trace was 10 of 14 from the foul line for 71 percent.
“When we went to the glass, I think that’s when the game kind of turned,” Blazers head coach Mike Coreno said.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve been down in the first quarter or the first half,” Coreno said. “The schedule definitely prepares us. It gets us ready for any type of team.
“It was a great team effort to finally get to that point (where the Blazers took the lead),” Coreno said. “Then just inch away to the win.”
“I thought we played extremely hard for 32 minutes,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “The difference in the game was clearly their rebounding edge. They out-rebounded us by 20. We’re not a great rebounding team, but we’re better than we were today.
“A lot of that has to do with their size and physicality,” Ackley said. “I thought they wore us down underneath in the second half. I thought that was truly the difference in the game.
“We only had six turnovers, but, we didn’t shoot it very well,” Ackley said. “A lot of that is a tribute to their defense.”
Ackley spoke about Dani Lawson and her tremendous surge in the second half.
“She’s a lot to handle underneath,” Ackley said. “She’s going to Purdue for a reason. Her physicality and strength, I thought, wore on us as the game went on. When they needed her to make plays, she really did a good job of making plays.
“They made some adjustments and used her in some screen and roll action late in the fourth quarter,” Ackley said. “I thought that put us in some bad spots, too. She’s a really nice player.
“I thought we came ready to play,” Ackley said. “With who we’ve played and where we’ve played; playing at Ottawa-Glandorf, playing at Reynoldsburg; playing Richmond Dale Southeastern, playing Wilmington twice and Chillicothe three times. (Our girls) weren’t scared of anything and I thought that showed today.
“We moved the ball, executed early, made some shots,” Ackley said. “I thought our perimeter defense was very good. I thought we did a good job on their post players early in the game. We really dictated most of the first half, other than a couple of minutes there mid-way through the second quarter.”
“I was playing for my teammates,” Tanner Bryant said. “That’s the biggest thing. It wasn’t about the points, it wasn’t about anything else, just the ultimate goal of trying to win this game.
“I thought we moved the ball and shared the ball really well tonight,” Bryant said. “It’s not about points for me, I don’t care about anything like that. It’s just about winning the game. Unfortunately, we fell a little short tonight.
“I’m so proud to be on this team,” Bryant said. “I wouldn’t trade that for the world, win or lose.”
“It’s tough to end the season like this,” Victoria Fliehman said. “I’m truly grateful that I got to play seven games in the tournament. I only got to play three minutes in the tournament last year. I’m so grateful I got to play seven games with this team. I wish it could have been eight. I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”
Miami Trace says thank you and farewell to three seniors: Samantha Ritenour, Hanna Reisinger and Tori Riley.
“Tori Riley is the epitome of what a great teammate is,” Ackley said. “She comes to practice every day, she works extremely hard, she has a great attitude. She doesn’t get a lot of minutes, but, she’s a program kid. She’s been in the program since the third grade.
“You would think she was our leading scorer and the best player on our team if you walked into our practice,” Ackley said. “The kids love her. She loves giving me a hard time and, I’m really going to miss her. She brings a lot of personality to our group. I thought she handled her role as good as any player in her position that I’ve ever (coached).
“Hanna Reisinger and Sam Ritenour are program kids, as well,” Ackley said. “Both are extremely good role players.
“Hanna didn’t come out today,” Ackley said. “She played 32 minutes. She’s been a rock for us for the last three years, as has Sam. They both do their job and they do it very well. We wouldn’t be where we are without both of them, there’s no doubt.
“They’re both great teammates and great kids,” Ackley said. “They’re both going to be missed in the years to come. I couldn’t be any more proud of the improvement they’ve made over their four years. They both left it all out on the floor today. That’s all you can ask.
“They’ve had a run and an experience they’ll never forget.”
What about the support for the team?
“As far as our community and the support, it gets no better,” Ackley said. “We left today, we had a police escort. They had a fire truck with a big ladder with the American flag we got to go under on 41. We had an escort to the county line.
“Our school really stepped up,” Ackley said. “Our administration. Our fans, they made signs; local businesses have donated. It’s just been incredible, the support that these kids have been given.
“We’re very well-supported by our fans all the time,” Ackley said. “Our crowd is always really good. We have several people who never miss a game and they don’t have a dog in the fight. Our kids really appreciate them. Everyone has been awesome.
“The kids were extremely excited,” Ackley said. “It’ll be a day they’ll never forget. I just wish it would have had a better ending.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 9 14 9 8 — 40
HB 3 12 13 20 — 48
MIAMI TRACE — Cassidy Lovett 1-4-6; Hanna Reisinger 0 (1)-0-3; Victoria Fliehman 4 (1)-1-12; Tanner Bryant 6-5-17; Samantha Ritenour 0-0-0; Olivia Wolffe 0-0-0; Shaylee McDonald 1-0-2. TOTALS — 12 (2)-10-40. Free throw shooting: 10 of 14 for 71 percent. Three-point field goals: Reisinger, Fliehman. Combined field goal shooting: 14 of 47 for 30 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 15 for 13 percent. Rebounds: 26 (8 offensive). Assists: 7. Turnovers: 6. Blocks: 0. Steals: 6. Personal fouls: 16.
HATHAWAY BROWN — Hanna Harlor 2-4-8; Makenzie Berk 0-0-0; Dani Lawson 4-8-16; Kaydan Lawson 4-2-10; Jackie Carman 3 (1)-0-9; Sydney Radke 0 (1)-0-3; Katie Aris 1-0-2. TOTALS — 14 (2)-14-48. Free throw shooting: 14 of 21 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: Carman, Radke. Combined field goal shooting: 16 of 48 for 33 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 15 for 13 percent. Rebounds: 46 (19 offensive). Assists: 3. Turnovers: 14. Blocks: 5. Steals: 3. Personal fouls: 13.
Miami Trace girls basketball stats were provided all season long by scorebook-keeper Karl Kellenberger. Thank you.
Thank you to John Howley shooting this game.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1