Kara Ramsey, Logan Haught lead Frontier past River for sectional championship

Photo by Mike Morrison The Frontier girls basketball team celebrates after defeating River 46-41 Saturday afternoon at Hank Morus Gymnasium in New Matamoras. The win gave the Cougars a sectional championship.

NEW MATAMORAS — Defeating the same team three times in the same season is never an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

After a pair of two-point victories over neighbor River High School in the regular season the Frontier Cougars played host to the Pilots in a Division IV sectional championship game Saturday afternoon and made it three-in-a-row with a thrilling, come-from-behind 46-41 win.

Frontier trailed by five points entering the final quarter of play but out-pointed their rivals 14-4 in the final eight minutes to claim the sectional crown.

“It’s very hard to beat a team three times and that was on our minds but I think it was also on their minds that we had beaten them twice,” said Frontier head coach Mike Cisler. “It’s very exciting and our kids played a great game.”

River had the hot hand early on as they won the first period 15-10 thanks to a pair of early 3-pointers by Emily Smith but the Cougars came roaring back to open the second quarter.

A triple by Kara Ramsey and back-to-back inside scores by Emily Cisler turned the five-point deficit into a two-point Frontier lead early in the second quarter.

River battled back to tie the game later in the quarter but Frontier pulled back in front on a Logan Haught bucket with less than a minute to play.

The Pilots connected on four 3-pointers in the first half including one by Kylie Piatt that put them back in front at the break by a slim 25-24 margin.

River quickly extended its lead to five to start the second half before Frontier freshman Grace Knowlton canned a triple to cut the lead back to two.

The Pilots answered once again as freshman Kelsey Harlan’s runner pushed their lead back to five heading to the final period.

The Cougars cut the lead to two with four minutes to play on a Haught free throw before River pushed the lead back to three on a free throw by Harlan with 2:47 to play.

Ramsey came up huge for the home team when she drove the baseline and hit a short pull-up jumper to make it a one-point ball game with less than two minutes to play before coming up with a huge defensive play on the other end of the court as well.

The Cougar sophomore forced a River turnover by intercepting a pass and fired the ball up the court to Kylie Lamm who in turn found sophomore Tacey Kirkpatrick who calmly hit the biggest shot of the game when she nailed a three-pointer to put Frontier back in front for the first time in the second half with just over a minute to play in the game.

Harlan drew a foul and made one-of-two freebies to bring the Pilots to within a point but Kirkpatrick and Knowlton each made a pair of free throws in the final minute to seal the deal and clinch a huge win for the young Cougars.

“We have come a long way and we are closer than any team I have ever been on,” said Haught, who celebrated her birthday in grand style with the win. “We pushed each other in practice and motivated one another and I think we deserve this.”

Coach Cisler was pleased with the way his team kept its composure and thrived under pressure when the game was on the line.

“Going into the final quarter we told them that this was it, you have only got eight minutes left and if you want to cut the nets down you are really going to have to get after it and they did,” said Cisler, whose team committed just eight turnovers in the game. “I’m very proud and so happy for my kids.”

Ramsey led the way for the winners with 12 points while Haught fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Cisler added eight points while Knowlton and Kirkpatrick finished with seven and five points respectively, all coming in the second half.

“This is a huge win for us because I don’t think we have won a sectional in like four years,” said Ramsey. “We have been working really hard to get this done and this is just amazing. It was a great team win.”

Harlan led the way for the Pilots as the freshman tossed in a game-high 16 points while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists.

While the Pilots’ season comes to a close with a 7-11 record, the Cougars moved to 11-11 with the tough challenge of taking on top-seeded Shadyside in the district semifinal, a team that defeated them twice in the regular season.

“For our girls to be so young and to be able to enjoy some success by winning a sectional is huge,” said Cisler. “That will just play on even into next year but first we are going to work hard and get ready for the districts and Shadyside.”

Caldwell 49, Monroe Central 47

WOODSFIELD — Caldwell upset Monroe Central 49-47 Saturday to bring home the program’s first sectional championship in 13 years.

Cayton Secrest produced 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals to lead the Redskins. Klaudia Rayner added 10 points while Jules Hood and Sheridan Archer tallied six apiece. Archer also grabbed six boards, while Madi Mumaw netted five points.

“We’ve talked for years now about competing for championships and today it came into fruition,” said Caldwell head coach Eli Svercek. “Can’t say enough about these girls and the effort today to make this sectional championship possible. Defensively and offensively they did everything we asked of them and worked on while preparing for this game.”

The Seminoles, who led 25-22 at halftime but were outscored 11-6 in the third period, got 15 points from Trista Morris and 10 each from Kynzi Bishop and Kalista Friday.

Riley Bettinger finished with six points.

Caldwell will take on Rosecrans at 7 p.m. Thursday in a district semifinal. Rosecrans edged Caldwell’s rival, Shenandoah, 44-42 Saturday.


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