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Willard holds on for overtime win at Edison

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated Feb 10, 2019 at 5:24 PM

MILAN — When it came down to crunch time, Cassidy Crawford was there for Willard when it needed her most.

Crawford's 3-pointer and subsequent free throws allowed the Crimson Flashes to escape Edison with a 48-44 Sandusky Bay Conference Bay division overtime win on Saturday.

"It is nice to have Cassidy on our side," Willard coach Jon Dawson said. "She made a couple of big-time plays. I was on her all night about getting into the flow of the game and letting stuff happen. When it came down to it, she hit that big 3 and knocked down a couple free throws. That is why she is an All-Ohio kid."

The 3 from the junior gave Willard (16-4, 9-2) a 46-44 lead with 1:16 left in overtime. The Chargers (16-5, 7-4) could not score on the other end. Willard then committed its 24th turnover of the game before Hannah Vitaz was whistled for an offensive foul on a drive.

With just 19.4 seconds left, the Flashes committed their 25th and final turnover, and Edison used a timeout. But the Chargers were careless with the ball and were forced into their 18th turnover before Crawford was fouled with 13.8 seconds left. She nailed both free throws to seal the win.

"That is why (Crawford) is one of the leading scorers in the area," Edison coach Tracey Moyer said. "She is hard to stop. You focus on her and she still gets double digits."

The Flashes were nearly done in by the 25 turnovers.

"It is concerning," Dawson said. "We talk all the time about taking better care of the basketball. We have to value it a little more. Today, I thought we were forcing things."

It looked like Willard was going to win the game comfortably by double digits. A short jumper by Chloe Wiers gave the Flashes a 35-24 lead with 5:37 left in the third quarter, but that is when the Chargers went to work. Alana Fidler scored for Edison, then Vitaz connected on two 3-pointers just 57 seconds apart.

Aliyah Caporini  scored off of an offensive rebound to cut the lead to one point as Willard called timeout. Mckenna Stephens scored her only bucket of the game on an assist from Kalli Sowers, but a baseline jumper by Vitaz drew Edison within 37-36 after three quarters.

"We battled and battled in that third quarter to get within one point," Moyer said. "We could not do that over there the first time (45-30 loss on Jan. 4). I think that shows tremendous growth from that game to this game."

Both teams struggled offensively in the fourth quarter. Willard got on the scoreboard first when Crawford made two free throws with 4:55 left in regulation, but it was the only points the Flashes scored in the final quarter.

Later, a 3 from Mariah Medina tied the game at 39 with 2:27 left. Willard committed its 21st turnover with 1:15 to go before Edison went for the win. The shot was no good, but Fidler grabbed the offensive rebound. The Chargers then held for the final shot, but Willard disrupted the play, as Vitaz came up well short on a long 3 at the buzzer.

"I thought defensively, we did a very good job of moving our feet and getting good rotations," Dawson said. "We were fortunate to have a couple fouls to give to really not let them get into a flow."

Crawford and Molly Houser exchanged buckets in the first minute of overtime. Then, Presley Feltner scored her first points since the first quarter with a short turn-around jumper. But, Caporini drove in, scored, and was fouled. Her free throw make gave Edison it's first lead of the game with 1:57 left in overtime.

"We both know each other so well," Moyer said. "The girls stuck to the game plan of staying with your girl until we needed help."

The Flashes raced out to a 10-0 lead behind six points from Feltner and two buckets by Crawford. Edison missed its first 12 shots before Fidler scored down low. Willard led, 18-4, after one quarter after a triple from Wiers.

Wiers added a baseline jumper and Layla Dials scored off of a Chargers turnover to extend the lead to 22-6.

"We got off to that kind of start last time," Dawson said. "I never thought we would do that again. Edison is playing with a ton of confidence. I knew they were not going to go away."

Edison slowly chipped away at the 16-point deficit. Scores from Deana Blatnik, Jessica Stoll, and Vitaz cut the lead down to 28-20, but Haylie Hamons hit a jumper and Stephens split two free throws to give Willard a 31-20 lead at halftime.

"We forced Edison into some things early," Dawson said. "Coach Moyer has a good thing going right now and they believe in what they are doing. I knew it was going to be a dog fight coming over here."

Crawford finished with 20 points — moving her one point behind Alysun Daniel (1,079) for fifth on the Willard girls all-time scoring list. Wiers added 12 points while Feltner tallied eight points and 12 rebounds.

"I think both teams are going to look back at this and think it was a pretty good learning experience," Dawson said. "It was exactly what we needed going into the tournament. We have not had many games that have come down to the last couple of minutes. Those have been kind of sparse this year. The games for the most part have been decided going into the fourth quarter."

Vitaz led Edison with 14 points and Fidler scored 12 points. Vitaz grabbed six rebounds and Fidler had five rebounds.

"I think this makes us tournament ready," Moyer said. "It was a tournament-like atmosphere with both sides being loud. I think this will help us a lot."

Willard is back in action on Monday at home against Ashland. Edison finishes its regular season on Thursday at home against Oak Harbor.

WILLARD (16-4, 9-2)

Layla Dials 1 1-2 3, Chloe Wiers 5 1-2 12, Mckenna Stephens 1 1-2 3, Cassidy Crawford 7 5-5 20, Presley Feltner 3 1-3 8, Haylie Hamons 1 0-2 2. TOTALS 18-9—48.

EDISON (16-5, 7-4)

Aliyah Caporini 3 1-1 7, Mariah Medina 1 0-0 3, Molly Houser 1 0-0 2, Alana Fidler 5 2-2 12, Hannah Vitaz 5 2-2 14, Jessica Stoll 2 0-0 4, Lilli Schuster 0 0-0 0, Deana Blatnik 1 0-0 2.

Willard 18 13 6 2 9 — 48

Edison 4 16 6 3 5 — 44

3-point FGs: (W) Wiers, Crawford, Feltner; (E) Vitaz 2, Medina

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