LEXINGTON — Only four Ohio girls’ basketball teams end the post-season with victories, i.e. state titles in March.
But that didn’t make a tournament loss any easier Wednesday night for the Clear Fork Colts, who saw their season end with a 40-31 defeat to Crestview in the Division III sectionals at Lexington High School.
It was especially tough for Clear Fork’s four seniors: Tabi Hamilton, Erika Robinson, Whitney Snavely and Macy Wade.
The Colts finished the season with a 7-16 record. Crestview (18-5) advances to Saturday afternoon’s sectional title game against Milan Edison, which defeated New London in the evening’s first game on Wednesday.
“We thought we had a real good chance tonight,” Clear Fork coach Chuck Schmitt said. “I think the first quarter hurt us, getting in a hole.”
The Cougars, the sixth seed in the 12-team district, jumped out quickly and led 15-8 after one quarter.
Clear Fork, the seventh seed, battled back, but struggled on offense, hitting just 25 percent of its shots (12 of 47), including just one of 18 triples (6 percent).
“I don’t think we ran our offense the way we wanted to run it,” Schmitt said. “We really wanted to get the ball inside more.”
Down 32-20 at the half, the Colts used a full-court press to close to within seven points twice — 32-25 with remaining and 34-27 with 3:26 left. But Crestview connected on six straight free throws in the final 2:40 to close out the game.
“We just couldn’t get it going,” Schmitt said. “We didn’t have any consistent offense. That’s been our history all year. Are we better? Yeah, we’re better. But we’re not there. We gotta make shots. There are no secrets to the game. You gotta make shots.”
Schmitt praised the play of his seniors.
“Erika and Tabi have come a long way. They’re our leading rebounders and both have been girls we counted on. The way Macy plays is the way we play. When she has a good night, we all have a good night. If she struggles, we all struggle, unfortunately. Whitney is a tough girl. She plays hard. She doesn’t know how to play halfway,” he said.
Robinson led the Colts with 14 points against Crestview, connecting on six of 10 FG tries. She also pulled down five rebounds. Wade added 12 points and six rebounds, the only other Clear Fork player in double figures.
Clear Fork outrebounded Crestview (34-41) and committed one less turnover (16-17).
Senior Jacqueline Baith led Crestview with 12 points, the only Cougar in double figures.
“We’re proud of our girls,” Schmitt said. “They worked hard. Hopefully, we’re making some progress. I think the four seniors did a great job for us this year.”
Clear Fork senior Erika Robinson battles Crestview freshman Reegan Givens for a rebound Wednesday night during a Division III tournament game at Lexington High School. Robinson led Clear Fork with 14 points in a 40-31 loss.
Clear Fork senior Macy Wade is defended by Crestview senior Kennedy Hickey on Wednesday night. Wade had 12 points for the Colts.
Clear Fork senior Tabi Hamilton is pressured inside by Crestview defenders on Wednesday night at Lexington High School.