SPRINGFIELD – The East Clinton girls basketball team’s elite dream season ended Saturday at Springfield High School with a 68-41 regional final loss to Purcell-Marian, ranked second in the season’s final Associated Press poll.
Purcell-Marian (25-1) advances to the final four for the second straight year. It will face Belmont Union Local at noon Thursday, March 10, at University of Dayton Arena.
EC, believed to be the first Clinton County girls basketball team to reach the regional championship game, finishes the season at 21-6.
“There’s only going to be four teams in the state of Ohio that are going to end the season happy without a loss. Don’t let this one game reflect on the year you’ve had,” EC head coach Bill Bean said he told his team after the game. “We won a league championship. We went undefeated in the league. We won a sectional. We won a district. We won a regional game. We played in the regional final. We played in our fifth tournament game. We’ve never had an East Clinton team play five tournament games. We’ve won four tournament games. An East Clinton team has never done that.
“One game does not define your season. Hold your head high. You have so much to be proud of.”
Cy’Aira Miller led Purcell-Marian with 18, all of them from behind the arc. Purcell-Marian’s 6-1 freshman and southwest district Division III player of the year Dee Alexander, who averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds a game this season, finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, 13 and seven in the first half.
Libby Evanshine led the Astros with 15 points, on 6-of-6 shooting from the field.
East Clinton led 8-7 at the 5:16 mark of the opening quarter, but the Cavaliers all but put the game away by outscoring the Astros 19-6 the rest of the period to lead 26-14.
EC stayed within 20 of the Cavaliers before they reeled off six straight to go up 39-19 two minutes before the intermission.
With a pair of threes in the last minute of the half, Purcell-Marian took a 46-23 cushion into the break.
Purcell-Marian hit 9-of-21 three-point attempts in the first half and 15-of-29 for the game.
The Cavaliers’ three-point barrage continued in the third quarter with four more to help their lead grow to 30, 62-32 with 2:31 left in the period. With three-pointers number five and six in the next 70 seconds, Purcell-Marian built a 68-32 lead and forced a running clock.
Purcell-Marian led 68-35 heading to the final period.
East Clinton got back within 30 of the Cavaliers, 68-39 with 3:29 left in the game, to stop the running clock.
“I’m so proud of this bunch of kids, just the way they battled and fought,” Bean said. “We were down 23 at half. It would be easy to roll over and say ‘Hey, we’ve had a good year. Let’s get this over with.’ But they didn’t.
“There’s no quit in this bunch. They are an unbelievable bunch of young ladies. What a joy to coach them.”
March 5, 2022
Region 12 Championship
@Springfield High School
Purcell-Marian 68, East Clinton 41
(68) PURCELL-MARIAN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) C. Miller 6-6-0-18 Alexander 5-0-7-17 K. Miller 3-2-1-9 Dicks 0-0-0-0 Mosley 4-4-1-13 Behanan 0-0-0-0 Small 4-3-0-11 Brundage 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 22-15-7-68
(41) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Collom 0-0-0-0 Evanshine 6-0-3-15 Whiteaker 4-2-1-11 Runyon 1-0-0-2 Lilly 2-0-0-4 Murphy 1-1-2-5 Tong 1-0-0-2 Hadley 0-0-0-0 Jones 1-0-0-2 Stonewall 0-0-0-0 Schiff 0-0-0-0 Frazer 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 16-3-6-41
FIELD GOALS: PM (22-48) C. Miller 6-9, Alexander 5-11, Mosley 4-11; EC (16-44) Evanshine 6-6
3 PT FIELD GOALS: PM (15-30) C. Miller 6-9; EC (3-18)
FREE THROWS: PM (7-13); EC (6-7)
REBOUNDS: PM-24 (Alexander 11, K. Miller 5); EC-30 (Lilly 6, Collom 5, Runyon 4, Whiteaker 3, Murphy 3, Evanshine 2)
ASSISTS: PM-12 (Alexander 5); EC-5 (Collom 2)
STEALS: PM-9 (K. Miller 4, Alexander 3); EC-4
BLOCKED SHOTS: PM-1; EC-0
TURNOVERS: PM-11; EC-23