BLUFFTON, OH – Spencerville hadn’t won a tournament game since nearly six years ago until they were victorious on Wednesday night in Bluffton 64-57 over Tinora.
Not only is the win the Bearcats first postseason victory since knocking off top seeded Delphos St. Johns in their 2012 sectional finals matchup, it was also one of their most impressive nights of the season from the free throw line.
With the game close late in the fourth quarter the Spencerville five of Abby Satterfield, Jayden Smith, Melanie Koenig, Nelaya Burden, and Emma Leis combined to hit 19 of 22 from the free throw line to help keep Tinora trailing on the scoreboard.
Tinora senior Amber Schliesser connected on 9 of 9 from the charity stripe for her own team in the game but it was her first quarter performance that helped to put the Rams on top 18-15 when she hit on all seven attempts in addition to a pair of jump shots for all of her 11 first half markers.
Trailing by three in the second period the Bearcats not only turned on their defensive pressure, they also dialed long distance on a pair of occasions as Grigsby and Leis connected on a pair of wing three pointers that helped push the NWC runner ups into the locker room with a 29-26 lead.
Junior Sydney Grieser was responsible for all but two of Tinora’s points in the games penultimate period as she scored 7 of her 14 points and drained a deep three which amounted for one of her teams three makes from the field in the quarter.
A back and forth battle in the fourth quarter saw the Rams nearly pull even as they utilized their own pressure to force the Bearcats into miscues. Schliesser and Taylor Brown both worked turnovers directly into baskets in the final eight minutes of play. Madison Brown and Sarah Harris added shots from outside to the Rams count but ultimately the Spencerville free throw shooting would decide the games outcome once Grieser fouled out with just minutes remaining.
Amber Schliesser led all scorers with 18 points and was one of three Rams to finish in double figures as she was joined by Grieser with 14 and Brown with 10. The Rams finish their campaign at 11-12 overall under first year head coach Kyle Tietje.
Spencerville with the win now has their first 15 win season under fourth year coach Greg Ekis and will take on Liberty Center on Saturday night at 8pm in Bluffton looking for their first sectional championship since the 2012 season.
The Bearcats were led in scoring by Nelaya Burden who finished with 15. Joining Burden in double figures was the duo of freshman Emma Leis (13), and senior Jayden Smith who ended the night with 12 points.
Burden was named to the 2nd team Northwest Conference this week while teammates Kaiden Grigsby and Jenna Henline were named to the leagues Honorable Mention squad for the second straight season.
Kaiden Grigsby 8
Abby Satterfield 6
Jayden Smith 12
Melanie Koenig 8
Nelaya Burden 15
Emma Leis 13
Allison Bowsher 2
Lexi Wachtman 2
Amber Schliesser 18
Taylor Brown 5
Madison Brown 10
Sydney Grieser 14
Sarah Harris 8