LEBANON – The Wilmington girls basketball program’s opportunity to advance to what is believed to be its first district championship game in school history slipped through its hands Thursday in a Division II girls district semifinal at Lebanon High School.
The Hurricane set up for a game-winning shot with eight seconds left but Bellbrook’s Brooklynn Hall snatched the ball with about four seconds remaining, ran out the clock and secured a 35-34 victory.
“Before the first timeout, we were trying to get a quick slip to Leah (Frisco) in the post. It was guarded well and we didn’t run it well,” WHS head coach Zach Williams said. “(After the timeout), we were trying get some misdirection (for Jasmine Jamiel, Mya Jackson or Faith Sanderson). I think we had a chance. We didn’t finish it out.”
Wilmington had stolen the ball with 16 seconds remaining and called timeout eight seconds later to set up the first play. It had to call timeout again when it couldn’t inbound the ball.
The Hurricane trailed 27-19 with 1:55 left in the third quarter after Bellbrook scored eight of the first 10 points of the period. But the Hurricane clawed back to tie the game at 30 with 2:59 left in the game and then again at 33 nearly two minutes later.
Kayla Paul banked in a shot with at the 38-second mark to put the Eagles up 35-33.
Wilmington hit one of two free throws seconds later.
“No one has anything to hang their heads about,” Williams said. “It never comes down to just one play. We can go back to the first quarter and find a play there. We can go back to the second quarter and find a play there. There are plays in every quarter that decided that game. It didn’t come down to the final seconds. Shooting 4-of-12 from the line doesn’t help in a close game.”
The first quarter ended in a deadlock at 10 after the teams traded 5-0 runs to end the period.
Bellbrook led most of the second quarter after Jackson opened with a three. The Eagles took a 19-17 lead into the intermission.
Wilmington’s season ends at 19-6.
“I’m very pleased with the season. I was unsure of what I was getting into. But I couldn’t ask for a greater group of girls this year. I’m proud to be their coach,” Williams said. “They’ve represented our school, community and parents at the top level. I will go anywhere and say anything about how proud I am to represent these girls.”
Bellbrook’s Cassidy Hofacker led all scorers with 18 points. Jackson led Wilmington with 16.
The Eagles’ win Thursday thwarted Wilmington’s attempt to avenge a 32-29 loss to the Eagles on Martin Luther King Day.
Bellbrook (22-3) advances to play either Tipp City Tippecanoe or Trotwood-Madison for a district title March 3 in Mason. Tippecanoe and Trotwood-Madison play Saturday.
February 23, 2017
@Lebanon High School
Bellbrook 35 Wilmington 34
(34) WILMINGTON (fg-ft-tp) – J. Jamiel 0-1-1, Jackson 6-0-16, Sanderson 1-1-4, Frisco 4-0-8, Edingfield 0-0-0, K. Jamiel 1-2-5, Quallen 0-0-0. Total 12-4-34. 3-point goals: 6 (Jackson 4, K. Jamiel, Sanderson). FTM-FTA 4-12, 33 percent.
(35)BELLBROOK (fg-ft-tp) Bereda 2-1-5, Hofacker 7-4-18, Vine 1-0-2, Dorn 1-1-3, Paul 2-0-4, Hall 0-1-1, Westbrock 0-0-0, Painter 1-0-2. Total 14-7-35. 3-point goals: None. FTM-FTA 6-13, 46 percent.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.