Firelands Falcons lose late lead in loss to Padua Bruins

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Firelands’ Keely Hall goes up for a shot against Padua in the Division II Elyria District Sectional Final on Saturday at Elyria High School.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Firelands' Casey Morrissette looks for room between Padua defenders Saturday night.

Padua's Lea Walsh drives to the basket against two Firelands defenders Saturday night.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Padua's Lea Walsh puts up a shot Saturday night.

ELYRIA — The first half went as well as possible for Firelands. Unfortunately, a second half needed to be played.

After hitting only two 3-pointers in the first half, Padua connected on seven 3s in the second half to overcome a 14-point third-quarter deficit en route to a 51-42 Division II Elyria District Sectional Final win Saturday.

The Falcons, who were the champions of the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division, end their fantastic season at 17-6.

“We stuck to our game plan in the first half and it worked,” Firelands coach Dave Kudela said. “Padua wasn’t making their 3s, but we knew they would make a run. (But) our offense disappeared.

“Our girls played hard. They got beat by a team who got hot in the second half.”

The zone defense Firelands unveiled at the beginning of the game took Padua (12-12) by surprise and also out of its game. The Falcons held the Bruins to just 2 of 23 shooting from behind the arc, while their offense moved the ball well resulting in open looks to hold a 21-9 lead at the half.

“We are a young team and in the first half we looked like a young team,” Padua coach Scott Klingbeil said. “Their zone caught us off-guard. We missed a couple early on and it snowballed.”

Signs of the Bruins breaking out of their slump showed early in the third quarter with Elena Weisenseel hitting on the first 3 attempt of the half. Firelands sophomore guard Rachel Holowecky responded with a baseline jumper, giving them a 26-12 lead.

With Padua putting on a 1-2-2 half-court trap on defense, the Falcons started to struggle in the turnover department. They turned it over five times in the quarter which allowed the Bruins to chip away at the lead and trail only 31-29 at the end of the quarter.

“I thought switching our defense was a game-changer,” Klingbeil said. “Much like their zone took us out of our game in the first half, our defense disrupted their offense. We were able to get our offense out of our defense.”

The momentum Padua built in the third quarter continued in the fourth quarter. Savannah Heckelmoser (game-high 17 points which included five 3s) scored five straight points to give them their first lead of the game at 33-31. They eventually built a 40-36 lead, but the Falcons rallied and tied the game after a pair of free throws by Destiny Samples with just over three minutes left in regulation.

But Firelands continued to turn the ball over which Padua took advantage of. They went on a 7-0 run. Lea Walsh capped the hot-shooting of the second half with Padua’s seventh three during the run.

After a rough first half of shooting from behind the arc, Padua was an incredible 7 of 12 (58 percent) in the second half. The Bruins had quarters of 19 and 23 in second half. They also didn’t commit a turnover in the fourth quarter.

Conversely for Firelands, the turnovers and lack of offensive production in the second half proved to be the difference. For the game, the Falcons turned the ball over 26 times.

“We needed a few more buckets,” Kudela said. “We had to keep being aggressive on offense to keep up their scoring. At times we were pressing too much that resulted in some turnovers which ultimately cost us.”

Junior guard Cassey Morrissette led Firelands with 15 points. Holowecky added eight points, while freshman Keely Hall had seven.

Graduating only one senior, the future is bright for the Falcons.

“We did some good things this year,” Kudela said. “We have a lot coming back and hope to continue them in the future.”

Padua 51, Firelands 42

Division II Elyria District

Sectional Final

PADUA –– Jackie Hartman 1-2 4, Kristi Vopat 0-1 1, Savannah Heckelmoster 6-0 17, Lea Walsh 6-0 14, Elena Weisenseel 1-3 6, Alyssa Freeman 3-0 7, Julianna PAvicic 1-0 2. TOTALS 18-6 51.

FIRELANDS –– Casey Morrissette 4-6 15, Rachel Holowecky 3-2 8, Destiny Samples 1-4 6, Keely Hall 3-1 7, Haleigh Bari 1-0 2, Brandi Holowecky 2-0 4. TOTALS 14-13 42.

3-POINT GOALS –– P: Heckelmoser (5), Walsh (2), Weisenseel, Freeman; F: Morrissette

Score By Quarters

Padua (12-12) 4 5 19 23 - 51

Firelands (17-6) 12 9 10 11 - 42

Team Statistics

Field Goals –– Padua 18 of 67 (27 percent), Firelands 14 of 40 (35 percent).

Free Throws –– P 6 of 13 (46 percent), F 13 of 24 (54 percent).

Rebounds –– P 35, F 39 (Hall 8).

Turnovers –– P 12, F 26.

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 2/23/2013 11:44:23 PM EST

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