SHELBY — It took a team effort for the South Central Lady Trojans to get the win.
South Central used strong second and third quarters to hold off a very physical Tiffin Calvert team that never gave up to win Thursday’s Division IV district semi-final game, 65-62.
The game came down to the last shot as Calvert’s three-point shot fell short as time expired.
“That was close — too close,” said South Central coach Becky Hintz with a smile on her face. “That was huge.”
With only seven seconds left on the clock, freshman Summer Sweeting hit both of her final free-throw shots. She hit all eight of her shots from the charity stripe and was 6-of-9 from the floor for 20 points. Sweeting also grabbed two steals.
“She did a great job. She’s only a freshman, but she doesn’t play like a freshman,” Hintz said.
Also in double figures for South Central was senior Alli Hintz, who had 15 points.
Coach Hintz complimented Sweeting on being a confident player and shooter.
“She’s a great shooter,” Hintz added.
Sweeting was in tears as she celebrated the victory with her teammates and classmates. She modestly said she simply did “just the usual” — trying to make sure everyone was involved and had the chance to score. Sweeting, who averaged five assists during the season, dished out five Thursday.
With 4:05 into the game, Sweeting grabbed a steal from a Calvert player near her own basket and went coast to coast for a lay-up, giving South Central a 4-0 lead.
The first quarter ended with the Lady Senecas on top, 9-5.
“They shot the ball the way we expected them to. They have very good shooters,” Hintz said.
South Central senior Olivia Blanton hit two three-pointers in the first half. Her second came with 2:32 left in the second quarter and gave the Lady Trojans a 21-18 lead.
“It was great getting the lead going into the half,” Hintz said.
The Lady Trojans outscored their opponents 24-15 in the second period to take 29-24 advantage into intermission.
“In the third quarter, we wanted to pour it on. We wanted to win the third quarter; it was a good thing we did,” Hintz said.
South Central, which had 19 points to Calvert’s 13 in the third period, ended the quarter up 48-37.
The Lady Trojans’ biggest lead, 50-39, came with 5:59 left in the game.
But the Lady Senecas kept pushing. They outscored South Central in the final period, 25-17.
Two Calvert players hit three three-point shots in less than one minute. With 20 seconds left on the clock, sophomore Lindsay Brickley hit her second consecutive three to narrow South Central’s lead to 62-60.
Bickley led the Lady Senecas with 16 points. She also had five rebounds.
Seniors Kate Brickner and Margaret Bowers each added 11 points.
When asked how the Lady Trojans held off Calvert’s strong attack in the final period, Hintz said her team focused on making free throws and end-of-game situations in practice — especially since they won the last couple games by larger margins.
“We focused on that the whole time,” Hintz said. “We stay focused.”
The coach said a team effort was what helped grab the victory.
“Our leader, Anna Hintz, had an off night,” she said about the junior who had nine points and grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists.
“(However), everybody stepped up. … That’s why we’re a great ball team,” Becky Hintz said. “We stayed focused.”
The Lady Trojans improved to 24-1 and are scheduled to play New Riegel at 7 p.m. Saturday for a district crown.
New Riegel topped Buckeye Central 55-32 in Thursday’s second district semifinal.
Ritzler 0-6-6, Kontak 1-0-2, Brickner 4-5-16, Bowers 5-1-11, L. Bickley 8-2-21, N. Bickley 4-1-9. Totals 21-15-62
South Central 65
Sweeting 6-8-20, Anna Hintz 2-5-9, Blanton 2-2-8, Alli Hintz 5-1-15, Hufman 2-3-7, Kilgore 3-0-6. Totals 20-19-65
Score by quarter
Calvert 9 15 13 25—62
SC 5 24 19 17—65