By SCOTT SEITZ
Reflector Staff Writer
St. Mary Central Catholic had just a little more gas in the tank Tuesday night at the convocation center, pulling away for a 71-60 win over the St. Paul Lady Flyers in non-league play.
The Lady Panthers improved to 17-2 and close out the regular season on Saturday at Perkins.
The Lady Flyers fell to 10-8. St. Paul plays again Thursday at home against Ashland Crestview and Saturday at Tiffin Calvert.
“I don’t like to make excuses, but I don’t think we had our legs after playing two nights in a row,” St. Paul coach Jeremy Bliss said. “We played hard, but didn’t knock down shots at the end.
“I’m proud of the way the girls played and I was real happy to see our great student section there tonight,” he added.
St. Paul hung tough all the way, leading 22-21 after one quarter and 35-33 at the half. The game was tied at 45-45 after three.
SMCC was able to convert a number of foul shots down the stretch to ice the game. The Lady Panthers ended up making 22-of-29 free throws for the game.
SMCC senior Kathleen Phillips scored her 1,000th career point at the 5:11 mark of the fourth quarter. She finished with 18 points.
“Kathleen scoring her 1,000th point, I’m very happy for her,” Bliss said. “She does a nice job and gets the ball where it needs to go. She is very unselfish and very dedicated to basketball. It’s nice to see.”
Phillips was overshadowed a bit by SMCC sophomore Lindsay Kaatz, who scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
“She had 26 earlier this season against Clyde,” SMCC coach Dave Lozier said. “She starts with four seniors and has been outstanding for us. She benefits from starting with those seniors. She’s a difference maker and she deserves it. All of her hard work is paying off.”
Lozier talked about Phillips’ 1,000th point.
“Hats off to Jeremy and his staff for allowing us to call that timeout to acknowledge her,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have a 1,000-point scorer and she’s worked very hard for it.”
Lozier knew the Flyers would battle.
“In the first half, I didn’t feel like they missed many shots,” he said. “That’s a credit to them because they played last night. Jeremy is doing a great job with this group.”
Claire Christman added 15 points and eight boards for SMCC.
Taylor Brown led St. Paul with 12 points.
Audrey Badovick and Allison Spence each scored 10 points. Kayle Bundschuh and Megan Stein both had nine points, while Hillary Fritz added eight and six rebounds.
Turnovers hurt the Flyers, as they committed 23. St. Paul shot 24-of-49 from the floor and 7-of-13 at the free-throw line.
SMCC was 24-of-48 from the field, committed 18 miscues and grabbed 28 rebounds.
Lozier said the Flyers and Panthers might meet again.
“We’ve got to get there first,” he said. “We will take it one game at a time.”
Phillips 6-6-18, Christman 5-5-15, Kaatz 11-8-30, Murphy 1-1-3, Lewis 0-1-1, Howman 1-1-4. Totals 24-22-71.
St. Paul 60
Kaylee Bundschuh 4-0-9, Badovick 4-2-10, Brown 4-0-12, Stein 3-3-9, Fritz 3-2-8, Kirsten Bundschuh 1-0-2, Spence 5-0-10. Totals: 24-7-60.
SMCC 21 12 12 26 — 71
St. Paul 22 13 10 15 — 60