ELYRIA — Every team wants to head into the postseason on a high note.
Elyria Catholic did it in style Saturday, clinching its fourth consecutive Great Lakes Conference championship with a 59-43 win over Bay at the Coliseum.
The win was the eighth in a row for the Panthers, who will head into the Division III district tournament with an 18-4 record after going 12-0 in the GLC.
It was also a special day for EC’s Faith Williams. One of two seniors who were honored before the game, Williams scored her 1,000th career point on a layup with 5:46 to play in the first quarter.
Williams has scored 867 of those points in an Elyria Catholic uniform after moving back home from Utah at the end of her freshman year.
“It’s very, very exciting,” Williams said of scoring 1,000 points. “There’s no other team I’d want to accomplish this with. Everyone is so happy for me and so supportive.”
Williams couldn’t miss in the first half. She made her first six field goal attempts and scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the first 11:07 of the game.
Williams and junior post Ally Winnen combined to score the Panthers’ first 21 points before junior Julie Allegretto’s free throw with 4:03 left to play in the half.
Winnen was hampered by foul trouble and finished the game with nine points after fouling out with 6:13 remaining in the game.
Bay (16-6, 10-2) fell behind 8-0 in the opening minutes and were never closer than six points at any point after the first quarter. Maddie Edgerly, who passed 1,000 points Wednesday, finished with a team-high 16 points.
The Panthers and the Rockets, who are in Division II, enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed in their respective districts.
Regan Schill, one of only two seniors on the Panthers roster, had six points and four steals on Senior Day. Schill believes the Panthers are even more prepared for postseason play than a year ago when they advanced all the way to the Division III state semifinals.
“Today was a bittersweet day knowing my senior year is coming to an end,” Schill said. “It was a big moment for us to win conference in our final home game. That was one of our goals this season. We’re in a good place right now. We’re winning and our chemistry is great, we love each other so much and we’re getting so much support. We’re ready to roll into the postseason.”
It was a solid all-around game for Elyria Catholic, which shot 45 percent from the field, 68 percent from the line and only turned the ball over four times in the first half.
“This was a good win,” Elyria Catholic coach Eric Rothgery said. “I was a little worried coming into today because Bay has some really talented kids and a great coach and I almost felt like we were already in tournament mentality. It was nice that we came out and played well from the start. I actually thought Bay played pretty well, too, we were just able to play better.”
“Season No. 1 is over now. Winning Great Lakes Conference four years in a row is impressive but now it’s tournament time and it’s a new season. This is the best time of the year for high school basketball and we’re going to be ready to go.”
Elyria Catholic 59, Bay 42
BAY (42): Kayla Koz 1-0-3, Emily Martin 0-1-1, Barbara Aldridge 0-1-1, Maddie Edgerly 6-4-16, Hailey Andrejcak 4-2-12, Grace Chiton 4-1-9. Totals 15-9-42.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (59): Lexi Hall 2-2-7, Stephanie Griffin 0-2-2, Faith Williams 6-2-17, Regan Schill 2-0-6, Julia Allegretto 0-1-1, Emily Repacz 1-0-2, Annika Bredel 3-2-9, Kaylie Griffin 2-1-6, Ally Winnen 3-3-9. Totals 19-13-59.
Bay 8 11 10 13 — 42
Elyria Catholic 16 16 12 15 — 59
Three-point goals: Bay (Andrejcak 2, Koz), Elyria Catholic (Williams 3, Schill 2, Hall, K. Griffin, Bredel). Field goals: Bay 15-37 (41 percent), Elyria Catholic 19-42 (45 percent). Free throws: Bay 9-21 (43 percent), Elyria Catholic 13-19 (68 percent). Rebounds: Bay 31, Elyria Catholic 28. Turnovers: Bay 15, Elyria Catholic 14. Total fouls: Bay 15, Elyria Catholic 17. Fouled out: Winnen.
Junior varsity: Elyria Catholic, 30-22