A potentially damaging technical foul turns into a positively surprising turn of events in Lake’s girls basketball tournament thriller against McKinley.
No one on the bench for Lake High School’s girls basketball team knew the call was going their way.
Henry Cobb watched the smallest player on his team — 5-foot-2 Baylee Hymes — careen out of bounds. He wanted a foul.
Patience usually is a virtue. The lack of it led to victory.
Cobb got the call he wanted, but didn’t know it. In no uncertain terms he let the official know he wanted a foul. He got two.
But the second was a technical foul on Cobb that sparked his team to an improbable 55-52 win over McKinley in a Division I girls district semifinal Thursday night at Walsh University.
The Bulldogs will not play for a district championship for the first time in six years.
“The technical foul put us on edge a little bit,” junior post Baylen Dyrlund said.
“It gave us more drive. We knew we had to match their intensity and come out stronger than they were.”
After McKinley’s Marquia Turner hit one of the technical free throws, Lake trailed 39-29 with 6:50 left in the game. The Blue Streaks outscored the Bulldogs 15-5 to finish regulation and tie the game. Turner finished with 21 points, the only Bulldog in double figures.
Cobb laughed off the notion that his technical foul was well timed, if not planned.
“I’m not that smart,” Cobb said. “My wife told me I wasn’t allowed to get a technical tonight, and I’m going to be in the doghouse.
“After that, our kids got aggressive and got in McKinley’s head a little bit. Maybe, though, because I had to sit down and my fat, bald head wasn’t standing up all the time, they just started playing.”
Lake played to its advantage and went to Dyrlund and 6-foot-1 McKenna Stephens. McKinley’s post game couldn’t match Lake inside. Stephens finished with 15 points and Dyrlund had 22 — she scored half of those in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Bulldogs played well in the first half, but had little to show for it. McKinley settled for a 20-16 halftime lead, in part because of nine turnovers in the second quarter. That lead swelled to 12 points late in the third, and was a comfortable 10 points early in the fourth.
“In my opinion it didn’t come down to the fourth quarter,” McKinley head coach Pam Davis said. “It came down to the first half. We had opportunities and we didn’t make plays. We got outhustled for loose balls. We turned it over too much. Then their experienced post play exposed us.”
Lake started the fourth quarter in a 1-3-1 zone and trapped out of it. That gave McKinley problems because the Bulldogs couldn’t hit shots outside. They finished the game with 23 turnovers.
Page 2 of 2 - “The 1-3-1 made it uncomfortable for them,” Cobb said. “We started attacking when we had the ball.”
Lake guards Miranda Diesz, Bree Libby, Baylee Hymes and Andrea Maag were like quarterbacks who couldn’t miss in the second half. They found seams in McKinley’s defense, or created them, and fed Stephens and Dyrlund inside.
The significance of the win was not lost on Cobb. Lake’s boys team won the Federal League for the first time.
“This is a tremendous win for Lake,” Cobb said. “McKinley is the measuring stick for all Stark County girls basketball teams. We are there with them or getting closer.
“I don’t know how many times our girls could’ve packed it in, and they didn’t.”
With three minutes left, Diesz’s layup brought Lake to within 42-39. McKinley countered. Then with 1:21 left in the game, Dyrlund converted an and-one to tie it at 44.
Lake had momentum to finish regulation.
“I wouldn’t have bet my paycheck on overtime, but I liked our chances,” Cobb said.
Dyrlund would have bet her coach’s paycheck.
“I remember walking out for overtime and telling my teammates we will end this game our way,” Dyrlund said. “I told them we were ending their season, not ours.”
Hoover, the top seed in the Walsh Division I district, rolled past fourth-seeded Wooster 63-51. The Vikings will play Lake on Saturday night at 7:30 for the district championship.
Hoover jumped out to a comfortable 32-18 halftime lead by holding Wooster to just four second-quarter points. The Vikings hit 24 of 51 shots from the floor.
The Vikings (20-4) got 23 points from Julie Worley. Kelsey Peare added 12 and Kaylee Stroemple had 12. Worley also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Wooster tightened the game in the fourth after Allerding subbed her bench in the final three minutes of the fourth. Worley and Peare came back on the floor with 51 seconds left when Wooster cut it to 59-49. Peare broke the Generals press, almost alone, went the length of the court and made a left-handed layup to right Hoover’s world and steady the end of the game.
DISTRICT FINAL TICKETS
Lake athletic director Bruce Brown said his school’s share of tickets for the game against Hoover will be on sale in the Lake ticket office from 7:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.