PERRY TWP. — For three quarters Thursday, defense and hustle kept Lake Ridge out in front of Berlin Hiland in a Division IV regional semifinal.
In the fourth quarter, experience won out and the Hawks pulled away for a 38-28 win at Perry High School.
The loss ended the Royals’ dream season — which included the first district championship in school history — with a record of 22-4.
Lake Ridge put on one of its best defensive performances of the year in the first half, holding the high-flying Hawks, who averaged 55 points in the district tournament, to a mere eight.
“We practiced and practiced all week on defending against their flare screens,” Royals senior Sydney Clark said. “It worked really well for us in the first half, but in the second half we weren’t getting around screens as well and they started hitting their shots.”
The Royals held a 16-8 edge at halftime after holding Berlin Hiland to 15 percent shooting (3-of-20).
But the Hawks chipped away, cutting the lead to three on a Regina Hochstetler three with 2:39 to go in the third quarter.
A pair of Jasmine Goings free throws gave the Hawks their first lead of the game, 21-20, a little more than a minute later.
Hochstetler led all scorers with 16 points, all of which came in the second half. She was 0-for-8 shooting in the first 16 minutes.
“We were calm at halftime even though we were down because we all wanted this so bad,” Hochstetler said. “We’ve been is this situation before so we knew we could get back into it. Our coaches do such a good job of getting us prepared, so we knew if we just did our part and executed we would win.”
Monet Saunders led Lake Ridge with 10 points and her eight rebounds combined with 10 from Clark gave the Royals a 33-29 edge on the boards.
“Our girls played their butts off, especially on defense,” Lake Ridge coach Lisa Medvetz said. “There were just a few moments where we got lost and weren’t communicating, and Berlin did a good job of grabbing loose balls and making us pay for our mistakes.”
It looked like the Royals were going to break the game wide open in the first half. Kyndall Wellons scored the final four points of the first quarter to give Lake Ridge an 8-2 lead and the Royals extended it to 10 points on three occasions in the second quarter.
“Our defense kept us in it long enough for us to figure it out offensively,” Hawks coach Dave Schlabach said. “Our kids are humble and work very hard, but they expect to win. We’ve been in situations like this before and have been able to pull it out.”
“Regina has been our go-to player all season, and I told her just go back out there and shoot every time you have an open look. That says a lot about her that she had the confidence to do it.”
After scoring at least 50 points 21 times and surpassing 70 on six occasions, Lake Ridge could not muster enough offensive firepower to keep pace with the Hawks late in the game.
“I’m proud of everything my girls accomplished this season and nothing that happened tonight takes away from that,” Medvetz said.
Berlin Hiland 38, Lake Ridge 28
BERLIN HILAND (38): Emily Yoder 0-1-1, Kendra Schlabach 2-0-4, Regina Hochstetler 5-3-16, Jenica Schrock 0-2-2, Natalie Nickol 1-1-3, Megan Beachy 1-0-2, Jasmine Goings 2-6-10 Totals 11-13-38.
LAKE RIDGE (28): Selena Benz 0-0-0, Kyndall Wellons 3-0-6, Sharday Baines 2-1-5, Sydney Clark 3-0-7, Monet Saunders 5-0-10. Totals 13-1-28.
Berlin Hiland 2 6 13 17 — 38
Lake Ridge 8 8 6 6 — 28
Three-point goals: Berlin Hiland (Hochstetler 3), Lake Ridge (Clark); Field goals: Berlin Hiland 11-42 (26 percent), Lake Ridge 13-42 (31 percent); Free throws: Berlin Hiland 13-14 (93 percent), Lake Ridge 1-5 (20 percent); Rebounds: Berlin Hiland 29, Lake Ridge 33; Turnovers: Berlin Hiland 9, Lake Ridge 15; Total fouls: Berlin Hiland 11, Lake Ridge 15.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.