Riders Survive Semifinal; Play Bath Next

St. Marys' Ally Will fights for a loose ball against Shawnee's Tessa Jordan in the first quarter of a Division II sectional semifinal.
Sports Editor

It felt like déjà vu all over again, but this time, the stakes were higher.
In a non-conference game in December, St. Marys struggled with foul trouble and New Knoxville's post player in Megan Jurosic, but a steal by Lauren Cisco and a pair of free throws by her sister, Sydney, iced the game for a 53-51 victory.

On Tuesday, the situation was similar.

The Roughriders struggled with Shawnee's transition defense and its post player Alissa Stahler, but a poke from Sydney Cisco, leading to a go-ahead bucket from Lauren Cisco — coupled with a pair of free throws from Sydney with seconds left — iced the game and led to another Riders' win, this being a 38-34 victory over the Indians.

The main difference between those two games? Tuesday's match was a loser-goes-home scenario in a Division II sectional semifinal at Spencerville High School.

"Lauren's New Year's resolution was not to miss a left-handed layup and what a time to get that thing in," Roughriders coach Jon Burke said. "I was worried about that when I thought she was going to go to her right and she finished with her left.
"And Syd knocking down those free throws, it is the second time this season she has won a game on free throws, the other being against New Knoxville."

The Roughriders (10-13) have a date with Bath (18-4) in Saturday's sectional final. The two teams played each other in last season's sectional final — which the Wildcats won — and Bath also won its meeting earlier this season.

Tuesday's match was not a given that the Roughriders were going to see a rematch with Bath, however, with Shawnee's high energy and tough play by Stahler.

The Shawnee senior accumulated five of the Indians' seven first-quarter points as Shawnee jumped out to a 7-2 lead.

St. Marys tied the game at 9-9 with 6:00 left in the second quarter on a Mele bucket as part of a 7-2 advantage by the Riders. The rest of the half remained tight, with each team trading scores for a 17-17 game at the half.

However, St. Marys opened the third quarter on an 8-2 advantage for the largest lead of the game at 25-19 with 3:54 remaining in the quarter, but Shawnee scored the final six points off a pair of 3-pointers from Madison Peterman and Eliyana Floyd for a 25-25 score after three quarters.

But Shawnee's run to end the third quarter did not involve Stahler on the offensive end. Burke made an adjustment throughout the game, inserting Aliya Patterson — someone the Roughriders did not have the their first matchup with the Indians — as the junior limited Stahler to just six points in the second half before Stahler fouled out of the game with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter.

For the full story, read Wednesday's print edition of The Evening Leader.