By MICHAEL BURWELL
HAMLER — The wind was howling and it was raining outside Patrick Henry High School on Tuesday.
But inside the building, Leipsic’s “umbrella” defense worked to perfection on the final play.
Leipsic, leading by three points with 3.2 seconds left, had four players guard the three-point line on Patrick Henry’s out-of-bounds play on the baseline. The Vikings’ Carlee Siefker stole the inbounds pass near the top of the key to secure Leipsic’s 54-51 nonleague girls basketball win.
“We practice that, we call it our umbrella. It’s our umbrella defense where we’re not going to give up a three,” Leipsic coach Gary Kreinbrink said. “(Patrick Henry) didn’t have any time outs left, so we were hoping that they might even make a mistake and just throw it in and some girl would just lay it in.
“We’ll take a one-point win. But we knew they had to throw it out.”
Leipsic, after starting the season 0-2, won its ninth straight game.
It didn’t come easily for the Vikings.
Patrick Henry went on a 15-2 run in the first half to take a 23-12 lead, and the Patriots led 30-19 early in the third quarter.
But Leipsic’s full-court pressure helped the Vikings cut the deficit to 38-36 after three quarters. Kierra Meyer, who led Leipsic with 17 points, scored a pair of buckets off of turnovers in the third quarter, found Heather Lammers for a 3-pointer and also found Brooke Gerdeman for a baseline jumper.
Siefker scored all four of her points on fastbreak opportunities as well in the quarter as the Vikings narrowed the gap.
“We’ve got to score in the open court,” said Kreinbrink, who improved to 394-312 in his 31st year as coach. “We’re not a great half-court offense, so we have to find ways to score and one of those ways is trying to create some offense with our press.”
Meyer found Hope Lammers for a 3-pointer to give the Vikings a 42-40 lead with 5:26 left, its first lead since 10-8 late in the first quarter. Meyer found Heather Lammers for another 3-pointer to give Leipsic a 45-41 advantage with 3:52 remaining.
Patrick Henry (7-5) pulled to within three points twice in the final 26 seconds. Natalie Herder, who led the Patriots with 16 points and 13 rebounds (eight in the fourth quarter), scored on a drive to the bucket to make it 52-49.
After a pair of Meyer free throws, Patrick Henry’s Jessica Bostelman knocked down two of her own to make it 54-51 with 10 seconds left.
Leipsic’s Morgan Niese missed two free throws with eight seconds left, and Patrick Henry coach Kyle Tietje called time out with 3.2 seconds left with the Patriots underneath the basket.
But the Patriots’ 12th turnover of the half and 20th of the game sealed the Vikings’ win.
Patrick Henry, which was playing against Leipsic’s diamond-and-one defense focusing on Katie Wagner (first-team all-Northwest Ohio Athletic League selection last year), shot just 3 of 12 in from the floor in the fourth quarter, including 0 of 4 from three-point range.
“I think the box and one just got in our head,” Tietje said. “We were so worried about that that we let some other things that we’re pretty sure-handed with slip and breaking their press was one of them.”
The Patriots, who had nine players score (eight in the first half), built their first half lead by scoring in the paint. Patrick Henry scored 20 of its 26 first- half points in the paint, whether on press-breaking buckets, offensive-rebound putbacks or drives to the basket.
However, the Patriots struggled shooting from outside the paint. Overall, they were 16 of 49 (33 percent) from the floor, including 0 of 11 from three-point range.
“We have good shooters shooting them, they just didn’t make any,” Tietje said. “Everyone that’s missed, the next shooter’s getting that much tighter and tighter and tighter. We want to shoot the three ball, it’s part of our game.”
Courtney Rosebrook added a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double for Patrick Henry, while Bostelman had eight points. The Patriots had a 47-36 rebounding advantage.
Heather Lammers had 13 points, while Gerdeman added eight points and five rebounds. The Vikings had their struggles shooting shooting as well, connecting on 36 percent (19 of 53) of its shots and 55 percent (12 of 22) of its free throws.
The Vikings face a couple challenging opponents in both of their leagues as they play Blanchard Valley Conference rival Arlington on Thursday and Putnam County League rival Columbus Grove on Saturday.
Both teams are state ranked.
“We keep talking about our most important game is the next one, so we just try to keep it simple,” Kreinbrink said. “We’re playing better now, but we also know that we’ve got a challenging schedule ahead of us.”
Meyer 6-5–17, He. Lammers 4-2–13, Gerdeman 4-0–8, Rigel 2-1–5, Siefker 2-0–4, Henry 0-4–4, Ho. Lammers 1-0–3. TOTALS: 19-53 12-22 — 54.
PATRICK HENRY (7-5)
Herder 5-6–16, Rosebrook 5-0–10, J. Bostelman 2-4–8, Drewes 1-4–6, F. Bostelman 0-3–3, Nickels 1-0–2, Wagner 1-0–2, Frania 0-2–2, Thompson 1-0–2. TOTALS: 16-49 19-31 — 51.
Leipsic 10 9 17 18 — 54
Patrick Henry 14 12 12 13 — 51
3-Point GOALS: Leipsic 4-13 (He. Lammers 3, Ho. Lammers 1); Patrick Henry 0-11.
rebounds: Leipsic 36 (Rigel & Gerdeman 5); Patrick Henry 47 (Herder 13).
turnovers: Leipsic 11, Patrick Henry 20.
junior varsity: Patrick Henry, 44-14.
Send an E-mail to Mike Burwell