The St. Paul girls basketball team took its perfect record into Thursday’s key Firelands Conference game vs. Crestview in Norwalk.
The Lady Flyers (5-1, 2-1) scored enough, but came up a couple baskets short in a 58-56 loss to the Cougars (5-1, 3-0).
They had their chances — particularly at the free-throw line, where they converted on just 50 percent of their attempts to leave a potential of 12 points off the scoreboard.
“We didn’t shoot well at the foul line tonight and I told the girls that they can’t miss them like that,” St. Paul coach Vicky Mahl said. “I’m not sure what it was. It’s not like we don’t work on shooting foul shots in practice, it’s something that we work on and talk about everyday.”
Despite going through some serious struggles, St. Paul was right there until the final seconds ticked off.
“I am really proud of my girls and that is what I told them after the game,” Mahl said. “That is a very good Crestview team and we were off tonight and still had an opportunity to win the game, but the shots were not falling tonight. It was a really good basketball game that we came up short in, but we get one more shot to try to beat them this year.”
The Cougars were one point better than St. Paul in each of the first three quarters in a nip and tuck game. Both teams took their time getting going and then midway through the third quarter Lady Flyers and Crestview exploded as each took turns going on mini runs.
“I don’t think that the lead ever got over five points tonight,” Crestview coach Aaron Goon said. “Every time we would get a little run going they would answer back with one of their own and then those last final few minutes were intense and I was just hoping we could hold on.
“Credit St. Paul and Vicky, she is a great coach and has them playing really well,” he added. “We knew that they were really good and I even watched them play last Saturday and let me tell you — those girls over there can shoot. We knew were going to have our hands full and though they have some nice size, they like to shoot from the outside. We tried to force them to go inside and we were lucky to get the win. This is how it is every time we play them and being that both teams are young, it looks like it will be that way for a long time to come.”
The bright spot for St. Paul was that it had three players that scored in double figures. Danielle Smith nailed a pair of 3-pointers and scored 16 points, while Lauren Chandler had 15 and matched her with two shots from behind the arc. Megan Hammersmith added 10 points.
The Lady Flyers just ran out of time when it couldn’t convert on a shot with time running out.
“There were some things that we could have done better than we did them tonight,” Mahl said. “The girls know that and I know that. I take a lot of the blame in that, too. We could have done a better job of making coaching decisions, but at the end of the day, I am just really proud of the girls and how they competed tonight.”
CRESTVIEW (5-1, 3-0)
Kylie Ringler 1-0—2; Kathleen Leeper 5-6—17; Emily Fry 1-1—3; Mary Leeper 1-1—3; Kenedi Goon 8-4—20; Destiny Horgett 2-0—4; Autumn Bailey 4-1—9. TOTALS: 22-13—58
ST. PAUL (5-1, 2-1)
Morgan Baxter 2-1—5; Anna Lukasko 1-1—3; Megan Hammersmith 4-2—10; Camille Endsley 1-0—2; Danielle Smith 4-6—16; Kati Kamann 2-1—5; Lauren Chandler 6-1—15. 2-12—56.
3-Points: (C) K. Leeper; (SP) Chandler 2, Smith 2.
Crestview 13 15 13 17— 58
St. Paul 12 14 12 18 —56
JV: Crestview won, 49-23.