The Port Clinton girls fought back from a 15-point deficit for a slim win against the Blue Streaks on Tuesday night at Sandusky High School.
The Redskins trailed by 15 points, 30-15, at the tail end of a 24-4 Sandusky (0-1) sprint through the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter. The Redskins closed the gap slightly during the next 12 minutes, but they still trailed by a dozen, 52-40, starting the fourth.
"I had to continue to say, 'It's 12 points. It's not insurmountable. We can get back in this game and we can still win this game,'" Port Clinton coach Toby Bickel said. "I think they started to believe it then, when it got under 10 (points) -- You can really see in high school kids' faces when they really believe it, that it's possible."
Port Clinton's Meigan Day hit a layup to tie the game at 60-60 with less than a minute to play in the fourth. Her teammate Alex Stephenson intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass and Kenzie Payne split a pair of free throws to give Port Clinton (1-1) a 61-60 lead. After a defensive stop, Hope Thorbahn finished the game with a free-throw split with a 62-60 win.
Thorbahn, a freshman, led the Redskins' comeback with 22 second-half points, including 11 in the final six minutes.
Limited by foul trouble in the first half, Thorbahn went into intermission with just one point.
"My big thing for her right now, with her being a freshman, is to just keep her head up when things aren't going her way," Bickel said. "I think (she turned) when she got some good things to happen in the second half and (Sandusky) got in foul trouble."
Sandusky's 12-point fourth quarter advantage slipped away with help from an early double-bonus for Port Clinton.
"We don't know how to play with a lead yet. That's not an excuse -- we panicked," Sandusky coach Nic Venerucci said. "We didn't close the door, with opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, we kept it open and they made some key shots.
"When it came down to crunch time, those girls weren't used to the spotlight and the situation."
Sandusky's Cara Croom led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting with three rebounds and three steals. Brianna Crowe added to the Streaks' attack with 11 points, followed by Sam Mayfield with 10 and sophomore Amber Johnson with five.
Behind Thorbahn for the Redskins, Meigan Day scored 11 points and Alex Stephenson and Kacie Piacentino with eight apiece.
The Redskins came into Tuesday's game off a 47-38 loss to Woodmore on Saturday in their season opener.
"We were extremely disappointed after Saturday's game," Bickel said. "To come back and do this is great for the girls. It's good for the girls' psyche moving forward."
Port Clinton hosts Edison and Sandusky plays Napoleon on Saturday.
Sandusky won the JV game 41-39 with a last-minute comeback authored by Kiah Roldan.
She hit a three-pointer with 45 seconds to go, pulling the Blue Streaks back within 39-38. With 20 seconds to go, she hit an 18-foot jumper giving Sandusky the 40-39 advantage. She stole Port Clinton's ensuing inbound pass and split her free throws after a Port Clinton intentional foul for the two-point lead. The Redskins couldn't move the ball down the court in time for a shot, giving the Streaks' JV their first win of the season.
Port Clinton 11 12 17 22 -- 62
Sandusky 13 19 20 8 -- 60
Cara Croom 8-7--24; Brianna Crowe 4-3--11; Rebecca Lewis 2-0--4; Courtney Chaney 1-0--2; Sam Mayfield 5-0--10; Amber Johnson 2-1--5; Caroline Estel 2-0--4. TOTAL 24-11--60
PORT CLINTON (1-1)
Alex Stephenson 4-0--8; Kacie Piacentino 3-0--8; Meigan Day 5-1--11; Kenzie Payne 0-5--5; Hope Thorbahn 6-10--23; Tiffany Colston 1-2--4; Totals 16-18--62