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Frontier girls eliminated from district following loss to Shadyside

SHADYSIDE — Not every win can be pretty and the old adage, while said millions of times, still holds true that tournament time is all about surviving and advancing, no matter how you get it done.

Thursday night powerful Shadyside brought the Eastern district No. 1 seed into its sectional semifinal contest against a very young Frontier team with Tiger fans already pointing to a berth in Saturday’s championship game. However, coach Mike Cisler’s youthful group had other ideas and for three quarters gave the hosts everything they could ask for and more before finally wearing down.

Senior standout Baylee Wach led four double-figure scorers with 15 points and the Tigers limited Frontier to just two second-half field goals and four rebounds while using a 14-0 burst to break open a close game and posting a deceiving 60-43 victory over the Cougars inside a rowdy and loud Tigers’ Den at Shadyside High School.

The victory moves coach Serge Gentile’s Tigers into Saturday’s 1 p.m. sectional championship game on the home boards against Zanesville. The 12th-seeded Bishops defeated Caldwel, 40-33, Wednesday night.

“It’s that time of year when you have to grind some games out and we did what was necessary to win (Thursday),” a relieved Gentile said afterwards. “Nobody wants to go home at this time of year and I was happy that it actually sounded and felt like a normal game with a little electricity in the gym. It’s been a while for that.”

Most of the electricity was sitting with the Cougars (11-12) for much of the game as they scored the initial five points and then led again by five at 14-9 with 1:33 to play in the first period.

However, a 3 from senior Kamden Elerick with 12 seconds showing eventually evened the count at 14-14 heading to the second.

Shadyside (17-4) led by two once and one point on three separate occasions in the second quarter before a Morgan Haught putback just before the buzzer sent the Cougars to the locker room with a 33-31 edge at the break.

Frontier managed to have that lead with four players all picking up their second fouls by the six-minute mark of the period and also turning the ball over 11 times.

Things remained tight in the third, even though the Tigers never trailed again after a three-point play from sophomore Gentry Brown gave the hosts a 36-33 edge at 4:36. Tacey Kirkpatrick’s hoop at 4:19 cut the deficit to one while Emily Cisler hit a hoop at 2:10, following a pair of Paige Gorby free throws for Shadyside, to make it 38-37. That, however, was Frontier’s only field goals of the second half and four of its 10 points.

With the score sitting at 39-39, Tory Hendershot and Wach closed the frame with baskets to give the Tigers a narrow 43-39 lead after three. Shadyside eventually capped the 14-0 burst with the initial 10 points of the fourth quarter and by the time the visitors hit a pair of free throws with 3:41 to go the lead had ballooned to 53-41.

The Tigers, who hit 28 of 40 free throws on the night, were an impressive 13 of 16 from the line to close things out in the fourth quarter.

While Wach added eight rebounds Elerick came up big with 14 points, Gorby added 13 points and eight rebounds and Hendershot provided a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Shadyside, which had a 16-14 deficit in rebounds at the half, grabbed a 32-20 edge off the glass in the end. Frontier also turned the ball over 19 times, five more than their hosts.

Kirkpatrick, a sophomore, was the only double-figure scorer for the Cougars with 11 while freshman Grace Knowlton and sophomore Kylie Lamm added seven each. The visitors did have three players foul out of the contest.

“Honestly, I wasn’t real happy about the officiating, but I knew coming in this was going to be a tough atmosphere, but give my kids credit we played real well for three quarters and hung in there with a good Shadyside team,” Cisler commented. “We have one senior and the rest are all sophomores and freshmen so while we are young we are expecting bigger things.

“We knew they had some great kids who have played together for awhile in Hendershot, Wach, Gorby, Brown and Elerick. But our offense just couldn’t get going in the second half and their senior leadership took over the game. I am very proud of our kids and they success they have had this season.”

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