Berwick Holds Off Dallas
PLYMOUTH — It was perfectly clear right from the beginning that seeds did not matter once Berwick and Dallas tipped off their quarterfinal District 2 Class 4A girls contest.
Thanks to its performance during the regular season, Berwick earned the No. 2 seed. Breaking in some inexperienced players at the start of the season got Dallas off to a slow start, and landed it as the seventh seed.
But it was one of those nights where the longer Dallas was able to hang around, the better chance it had to win the game.
But Katie Starr and Jadyn Michael had other ideas. Starr scored eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, and Michael came off the bench to make three 3-pointers in the second quarter, as Berwick was able to hold off a late Dallas charge in a 44-42 victory, Tuesday night at Valley West High School.
With the win, Berwick, now 19-5, will advance to Friday’s semifinal against Lake-Lehman at a site and time to be announced. Dallas ends its year at 12-11.
“We told the girls at halftime we are going to have to gut this out,” Berwick coach Bill Phillips said. “We beat them by five during the regular season, but they have players that are gritty and tough. We knew they were going to take us to the basket. We get to move on, that is the goal.”
Dallas came into the game shorthanded, without the services of Lauren Charlton, Haley Habrack and Emily Weiland, who all missed the game because of injury. That forced coach Kelly Johnson to turn to three sophomores in the starting lineup.
“We left it all on the floor,” Johnson said. “We were dealt some unfortunate circumstances. Some of that size we were missing, we could have used inside. We did not have the size we would have loved to have with rebounds and boxing out.”
The lack of size really hurt Dallas at the start of the fourth quarter. With the Mountaineers holding a three-point lead, Megan Dalo converted a pair of rebounds into baskets giving Berwick the lead. Later in the quarter with Berwick clinging to a one-point lead, Starr scored off of a rebound to put Berwick ahead by three.
But then the game really got interesting.
Claire Charlton hit a jumper for Dallas with 48.7 seconds left to cut the deficit to one possession. But here was the problem for Dallas, it had only two team fouls and had no other choice but to foul to stop the clock and try and get Berwick to the foul line.
Berwick turned the ball over with 8.7 seconds left, and Dallas had to go the length of the floor to try and at least tie the game. The Mountaineers got the ball up the court but a shot was deflected out of bounds. The Mountaineers then turned the ball over, and for all intents and purposes, that proved to be the final chance the Mountaineers would get, except for a desperation shot as time expired.
“Those last 40 seconds are like a blur right now,” Phillipis said. “We didn’t play well offensively or defensively. We survived and advanced. That is the goal.”
The hectic last 48 seconds of the game was made necessary by a Dallas team that didn’t quit. Not when it was down by four points at the end of the first quarter, and six at the end of the first half.
That was all erased by a 17-point third quarter that saw the Mountaineers take the lead. And right before Johnson’s eyes, those sophomores were starting to grow up on a pretty big stage.
“Those kids did not have a ton of varsity experience coming into the season,” Johnson said. “We had a slow start. They needed to get experience. We knew they had potential. Three sophomores started and the next one off the bench was another sophomore. They are quick, tough and play aggressive. We told them to let it all out there. Just get the nerves out and play hard.”
Deanna Wallace led Dallas with 14 points, while Bella Hill finished with 11. They are two of the sophomores that were in the starting lineup. The other was Claire Charlton, and she ended the game with five points.
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