Lady Blackhawks basketball loses close regional game to Lady Flyers to end historic season


By Drew Terhall

VANDALIA — The Lady Blackhawks were within striking distance for the whole second half. But, they couldn’t continue their historic playoff run. The fifth seed Mississinawa Valley Lady Blackhawks lost 40-37 to two seed Marion Local in the OHSAA Division IV Girls Basketball Southwest Regional Semifinal at Butler High School on March 7.

Head coach Michael Paige said the team has a lot to be proud of. While they didn’t want their season to end here, they still made it farther in the playoffs than any other team in program history.

“I’m definitely proud of them. We went further than any other team in Mississinawa history. Won sectionals, won districts and lost regionals by three. We can’t do anything but hold our heads up about that,” Paige said.

Things didn’t look good for Mississinawa Valley in the first quarter. It seemed like the Lady Flyers studied their defensive scouting reports and shut down everything the Lady Blackhawks tried to do offensively.

Missisisnawa Valley didn’t have any room to breath around the three-point line and they had trouble getting the ball inside early.

Paige said the team came out nervous and the nerves could have affected how they played offensively.

“We came out nervous. I think the moment was a little big for us. We had, for the first time, Taylee even said she was nervous. Which is not normal for her. We definitely played nervous. We didn’t play like ourselves today and I think that costs us the game,” Paige said.

But in the second quarter, Mississinawa Valley started to close the game. They went on a 10-2 run in the first five minutes of the quarter and was only down 16-14 late.

The offense started to find some success getting the ball inside and were able to push the pace. Anytime they got a deep rebound and had room to run, everyone flew down the court to get a transition bucket.

After holding Marion Local to six points in the second quarter, Mississinawa Valley was down 20-16 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Mississinawa Valley kept chipping away at the lead by getting to the free throw line. They were 6 for 10 from the line in the quarter.

With 4:35 left in the quarter, sophomore Brooklynn Seubert scored to give Mississinawa Valley their first lead of the game.

But, the Lady Flyers went down and answered with a bucket of their own to regain the lead.

Both defenses were forcing turnovers and getting stops. The offenses for both teams struggled to make an impact on the game.

In the final seconds of the third quarter, junior Taylee Woodbury was on the breakaway and was fouled on a layup attempt as the buzzer sounded. She sank two free throws to tie the game at 26-26 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lady Blackhawks continued to fight throughout the final quarter as Marion Local held a slim lead over them for a majority of the quarter.

Senior MacKenzea Townsend scored six points in the final quarter to keep her team in lock step with Marion Local. Paige said Townsend had a great game and has played better after each and every game this season.

But whenever Mississinawa Valley had the chance to tie or take a lead, they had a turnover. Those crucial turnovers added up and gave Marion Local chances to kill the clock and extend their lead.

It was another product of the team being unsettled.

“If our girls would have settled in, I think we could have pulled it out. We never really settled in. We called a couple plays for some girls to get them open shots. Even when they were open, they didn’t shoot. They looked to make the extra pass,” Paige said.

Marion Local went six for seven from the free throw line and closed out the game. Mississinawa Valley was always one bucket away from gaining control of the game, but just couldn’t put it together offensively.

Townsend led with 13 points. Woodbury finished with eight points. Everyone who checked into the game scored for Mississinawa Valley. But, the team made zero three point shots in the game. They led the WOAC in three-point makes with 176 on the season.

The team will graduate three seniors, Townsend, Brenna Price and Ingrid Ojeda. Paige said all three players have been key contributors for them and they will be dearly missed. But, they will still have a lot of players returning with some younger players waiting for their opportunity to play at the varsity level.

“Our team is a family. Losing any part of that is hard for us. Our seniors are a big part of our team. Kenzea, Brenna and Ingrid are all a huge part of our team,” Paige said. “But, we will build on it. We got a lot of young talent.”

Mississinawa Valley ends their season with a 21-6 record and a 10-1 WOAC record. They do end the season as District Champions.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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