NEW CARLISLE – Saturday’s sectional tournament loss didn’t provide the fitting end to the season the Greenville girls basketball team earned.
After winning a total of three games the previous three seasons Greenville turned around its program this year and was playing good basketball toward the end of the season. That strong play didn’t manifest like coach Rachel Kerns expected on Saturday, though, as the Lady Wave lost 30-28 in overtime to Shawnee in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament at Tecumseh High School.
“A year ago if you would have told me this is where we were I would be really excited,” Kerns said. “Coming off a loss we just had, it’s kind of hard to see all the brightness with our future. I’m excited for the direction we’ve put the program, but we can’t settle now.”
Greenville had its third lowest scoring output of the season on Saturday. Two of the previous three times the Wave failed to reach 30 points were against state-ranked Versailles and Tippecanoe – both of which came in the first month of the season.
“This is a really tough game because the way we’ve been playing is not how we played whatsoever today,” Kerns said. “This is probably one of our poorest offensive showings that we’ve had. It’s just really unfortunate because we had gotten extremely better on the offensive end. I don’t know … for whatever reason today we didn’t want to shoot the ball, we weren’t confident with the ball, and it’s just really hard to see that through some of the players because it’s not where we have been this season. Give Shawnee credit, they played really hard, but I think we did a lot of things that didn’t help us get to where we needed to be today.”
Points were hard to come by all day for Greenville, which didn’t make a field goal in the first quarter. The Wave were limited to free throws by Karsyn Shaffer, Payton Brandenburg and Lani Shilt in the opening eight minutes as they found themselves down 7-4.
Cassie Cromwell made Greenville’s first field goal in the second quarter, but then the Wave went scoreless for the next five minutes until Jada Garland drained a 3-pointer. At halftime Greenville was down 16-9.
In the second half Greenville started to make its comeback. The Wave got points from Cromwell, Shaffer, Shilt and Brandenburg in the third quarter as they reduced their deficit to a single point, 20-19.
The fourth quarter began with Morgan Gilbert stealing an inbounds pass by Shawnee and scoring to put the Lady Wave up for the first time all game, 21-20.
The lead lasted just 24 seconds, though, before Shawnee tied the game with a free throw. Then less than a minute later the Braves regained the lead with a 3-pointer.
Greenville kept the score close with a pair of free throws by Gilbert and tied the game at 26-26 with 3:19 remaining on Garland’s second 3-pointer of the day.
In the final minutes of regulation both teams missed scoring opportunities, sending the sectional tournament opener into overtime.
Shawnee regained the lead in overtime with a pair of free throws then Saki Nakamura knotted the score once more with a basket with less than two minutes remaining. With 18 seconds remaining Shawnee scored again for what proved to be the winning basket.
Greenville had a couple chances in the final moments to tie the game or take the lead but couldn’t convert as the Lady Wave ended their season with a first-round playoff exit.
“We’ve really worked getting after it defensively, and for the most part they had to earn a lot of their baskets,” Kerns said. “The difference is they made their open baskets, and we didn’t. They would get an offensive rebound, nobody around them and be able to finish where we just didn’t get any of those easy baskets. Give Shawnee credit, they rebounded the ball pretty well tonight, but we didn’t do enough to do what we had to do to finish this game. We left a lot of shots out on the floor and a lot of 50-50 balls that didn’t bounce our way or calls that could have went this way or that way. But the bottom line is we just didn’t do enough to win today.”
Garland led Greenville with 6 points in Saturday’s game. Also for the Lady Wave, Brandenburg scored 4 points, Cromwell scored 4, Gilbert scored 4, Shaffer scored 4, Shilt scored 4, and Nakamura scored 2.
Hannah Schartz led Shawnee with a game-high 9 points. Also for the Braves, Paree Furness scored 5 points, Des Parks scored 5, Lizzie Weaver scored 3, Ellie Brouhard scored 2, Andi Meeks scored 2, Olivia Potts scored 2, and Alisa Williams scored 2.
Greenville finished its season with a 9-14 record with Saturday’s loss while Shawnee improved to 10-13.
The Lady Wave will return most of their team next season but will lose two seniors: Lessie Cable and Karsyn Shaffer.
“They’re great girls,” Kerns said. “They’re the two toughest ones. They were able to stick it out when it was really, really bad. They got it to be not so bad, and they got it to be OK, and then this year they really got to be a part of winning a few games. I can’t say enough about either one of them. I appreciate their efforts and what they brought to the table every single day. I wish those two the best in everything that they do, and I’m extremely proud to have been able to have coached them for a few years.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.