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Sandusky steps up in fourth quarter

Michael Truax • May 12, 2015 at 5:32 PM

All of the sudden the fourth quarter doesn't look that scary for the Sandusky girls.

After falling in the fourth and losing late leads earlier this season, the Blue Streaks put together another solid second-half performance for a 59-58 win over Greater Buckeye Conference foe Lima Senior.

Caroline Estel hit the go-ahead running layup -- into the front of the rim, bouncing over and in -- with eight seconds to go, giving Sandusky a 59-58 lead.

"It's funny -- That wasn't the play we drew up," Sandusky coach Nic Venerucci. "We drew up a typical high ball-screen play, but Morgan kindof fumbled the ball. I tell my girls, 'Anything you do, make sure it's aggressive.' Caroline got the pass with time running out and she made an aggressive move."

The Spartans' response at the other end fell short, and Cara Croom grabbed the rebound and avoided the foul for the win.

"When you have two teams who are athletic, but aren't necessarily as fundamentally sound as other schools, that's what you're going to get," Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said. "You're going to turn the ball over a bunch, you're going to make shots in bunches and miss shots in bunches. It was two similar teams, similar talent levels and similar styles of play -- And it was a track meet."

Sandusky put Lima Senior in foul trouble early. The Blue Streaks were in the bonus just six minutes into the game, making the double bonus with almost five minutes left the half. In the first half alone, the Blue Streaks took 27 free throws, making 16. Morgan Newell (13 points) drew a foul and hit a desperation jumper with 21 seconds left. The made and-one gave Sandusky a 32-27 lead at the break.

The Spartans closed the gap on a layup by Arika Callahan with three minutes to play in the third, tying the game at 41-41. Lima Senior eventually broke the surface for the 44-43 lead on a basket by Coasha Frazier with 2:52 to go.

Sandusky took a brief 55-53 lead, but Lima's Dionna Hurley hit a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a one-point lead. On Sandusky's next possession, Indiya Benjamin broke away after a steal, scoring a fast-break layup for the 58-55 Lima lead.

"We got sloppy because we weren't used to it -- We weren't used to beating good teams, having leads in the fourth," Venerucci said.

Inside of one minute to play, Morgan Newell hit both ends of a free throw to bring the game back within a point, 58-57. Estel intentionally fouled a Lima player on the next possession. Estel came up with the rebound as the Spartans missed the front end of a one-and-one to set up the Estel layup.

"It was finally worth it for our girls to knock off a team with a (good) record," Venerucci said. "The girls needed it, and we needed it as a program to move on, so we'll see what happens."

Croom led the Blue Streaks with 16 points, followed by Sam Mayfield with 12 and Rebecca Lewis with nine.

Jazmine Thomas led Lima Senior with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Callahan and Benjamin added 11 points apeice.

Sandusky travels Tuesday to Perkins, where the Pirates (9-2) will try to avenge their 2010 loss (their only loss of the regular season) to the Blue Streaks.

LIMA SENIOR (5-6, 2-3 GBC)

Mi'Chean Williamson 3-0--6; Jazmine Thomas 5-5--15; Coasha Frazier 2-0--4; Arika Callahan 3-5--11; Dionna Hurley 2-2--5; Shaqualla Hurley 0-2--2; Jenny Steed 1-0--2; Indiya Benjamin 5-1--11; TOTALS 21-15--58

SANDUSKY (3-7, 2-3 GBC)

Sam Mayfield 5-2--12; Cara Croom 4-5--16; Caroline Estel 1-2--4; Brianna Crowe 2-3--7; Morgan Newell 4-4--13; Rebecca Lewis 2-5--9; TOTALS 18-21--59

Lima Senior 15 12 18 13 -- 58

Sandusky 15 17 13 14 -- 59

3-pt FG: Lima Senior 1 (D. Hurley); Sandusky 2 (Croom, Newell)

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