There wasn't anything at stake heading into Tuesday's game between Port Clinton and Bellevue, but the non-conference matchup between the Redskins and Lady Red turned out to be as physically and emotionally charged as a postseason game.
Bellevue (9-2) survived several late rallies by Port Clinton to top the state-ranked Redskins, 46-37.
“That's Port Clinton's MO, I mean, they are a physical team,” Bellevue coach Ryan Orshoski said. “They want to make it a half court game. (Tiffany) Colston, (Emily) Ashley, and (Hope) Thorbahn, those girls play physical and they have had a ton of success with it.”
The level of physicality the referees let the teams play at Tuesday had both fan sections enraged and on their feet.
Both teams responded to the atmosphere.
“This was a tournament type of atmosphere,” Orshoski said. “This was against a team that was 11-1. We take a lot from it. We had some girls step up at the free throw line tonight and make some crucial free throws, and we got some really big stops.”
A 3-pointer by Jake Turner followed by a jump shot from Shelby Stamm helped send the Lady Red into the second quarter with a 11-6 lead.
The teams traded baskets back and forth at the start of the second quarter.
Carly Santoro got tangled up with a Port Clinton defender and was called for a technical after throwing an elbow while battling for a jump ball.
Colston shot the free throws for the Redskins and cut the lead to five points.
Santoro sat the bench for a minute, but came right in and connected on a 3-ball to put the Lady Red up 20-11 with 3:08 left in the half. They entered halftime up 22-15.
For more information on this game and others, see Wednesday's Sandusky Register.