Elyria Catholic Panthers come up short in comeback attempt

BARBERTON — It has been a great year for the Elyria Catholic Panthers, finding ways to win tough games all season long en route to sharing the West Shore Conference.

Their magical season came to an end Friday, as their comeback fell short to Mogardore, losing 50-39 in the Division III Barberton District Final.

“It’s been a very good season and we have nothing to be ashamed of,” EC coach Eric Rothgery said. “We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half and we weren’t able to pull off the comeback.”

After falling behind 15 at halftime, the Panthers managed to cut the lead to three, 36-33, with three minutes remaining in the game.

That was the closest EC would get, however, as Mogadore came up with huge stops and shot an impressive 13 of 14 from the free-throw line to end the game.

“It was great to see my girls respond the way they did to Elyria Catholic’s late run,” Mogadore coach Tom Pollock said. “They never got rattled and found a way to win the game. I’m very proud of them.”

The Panthers were forced to play catch up all game due to a horrendous start.

EC made just one field goal the entire first half, shooting four percent from the field.

The ice-cold start produced just four points as the Panthers trailed 25-10 at the half.

“I don’t know what was going on but we just couldn’t hit a shot early on,” Rothgery said. “I was OK with the looks they were getting, they just weren’t falling like they usually do. It was tough to see that happening in a big game like this.”

While the Panthers were ice-cold, Mogadore waisted no time taking advantage.

Ashley Barker and Naomi Pollock each scored eight first-half points, easily outscoring EC by themselves.

EC finally got going in the third, going on an 11-2 run fueled by freshman Josie Carandang’s two 3-pointers.

The run cut the lead to just eight, 29-21, and setup EC’s fourth-quarter push.

In the fourth, senior Brittney McNamara hit her third 3-pointer of the game. The 3 brought the Panthers within three, 36-33, and also broke the Lorain County single season 3-point record with her 59th on the season.

“I am very proud of Brittney and her record, but I’m sure she’d rather have the win right now,” Rothgery said.

Following McNamara’s 3, Mogadore quickly went on a 14-3 fueled by nine big points from Barker down the stretch.

“Barker played great tonight and she’s been a huge key to our success all year,” Pollock said. “We lost her due to injury to begin the year and it was clear we were a different team without her.”

Mogadore indeed was a different team without Barker, starting the season 0-9.

Once she returned, the Lady Cats went 13-4 on their way to the district championship.

“I am just so thankflu I was able to come back and play with my team this season,” Barker said. “This is such an awesome feeling. We worked so hard for this and we really deserved it.”

Mogadores’s big win improves it to 14-12 on the season and advances it to play in the Sweet 16.

EC ends its very successful season at 21-5. The Panthers now look forward to next season, returning talented fresham Riley Schill and Carandang.

“My seniors have been with us for three seasons now and they’ll definitely be missed,” Rothgery said. “Fortunately we have some outstanding underclassmen in Schill and Josie. We will come back strong next year.”

Mogadore 50, Elyria Catholic 39

ELYRIA CATHOLIC — Josie Carandang 4-2 14, Brittney McNamara 3-0 9, Riley Schill 1-2 5, Shannon Hopkins 0-6 6, Karissa McGrath 1-1 3, Becky Horvath 1-0 2. Totals 10-11 39.

MOGADORE — Brianne Porter 2-2 6, Jordan Jeter 1-1 3, Grace Reilly 2-5 9, Naomi Pollak 3-1 8, Ashley Barker 4-12 21, Makenzie Williams 1-1 3. Totals 13-22 50.

3-point goals — EC: Carandang (4,) McNamara (3), Schill; M: Pollak, Barker.

Elyria Catholic 4 6 13 16 — 39

Mogadore 12 13 7 18 — 50

Field Goals — Elyria Catholic 10 of 57 (18 percent), Mogadore 13 of 44 (30 percent).

Free Throws — EC 11 of 18 (61 percent), M 22-27 (81 percent).

Rebounds — EC 38, EC 42.

Turnovers — EC 21, M 12.

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 3/2/2013 12:02:58 AM EST

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