WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth girls basketball team had to fight with everything it had Thursday night, but the Grizzlies were able to pull out a 45-41 victory over Magnificat at the Believe Roundball Classic.
“One of the things we try to do is dictate tempo, and I think Magnificat dictated the tempo all night long,” Grizzlies coach Andrew Booth said. “We want to play fast, use our depth and wear people down.”
Sharpshooting forward Clare Chambers pushed the Blue Streaks (3-6) ahead 32-30 with three minutes left in the third quarter. The sophomore scored a game-high 16 points, including three 3-pointers.
“We realized we needed to get our heads in the game, because the first half we didn’t play our best,” Wadsworth forward Taylor Leatherman said. “We knew we needed to pick it up offensively and defensively.”
With less than a minute left in the third, Leatherman rebounded a Wadsworth miss and put the ball back in the hoop to push the Grizzlies (8-1) ahead 34-32. Leatherman then got a steal and fed senior post Kacie Evans to give the Grizzlies a 36-32 lead after three.
Evans was held scoreless in the first half but went on to lead her team with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“We all knew that we needed to respond after the first half because our offense wasn’t working,” she said.
“At halftime when we were in the locker room, Booth told us we needed to get better.”
The Georgia volleyball recruit opened the final stanza with another bucket, but Chambers countered to make the score 38-34.
After a Blue Streaks stop, Magnificat took possession with seven minutes left in the game. Coach Danny Gallagher instructed freshman Mollie Laspisa to dribble the ball just over midcourt, and with Wadsworth content to guard the arc and not extend its defense, she dribbled three minutes off the clock without any movement.
The long possession concluded more than four minutes after it began when junior Brenna Varga was called for a moving screen.
“I think Danny Gallagher is a very good young coach,” Booth said. “He game-planned what he thought was the best way to win this game and came pretty close.”
The Blue Streaks then turned the game into a foul shooting contest and Wadsworth sank 7-of-10 over the final two minutes to secure the victory.
“Layups and free throws win a lot of high school basketball games,” Booth said. “We didn’t always make our layups, but did a pretty good job with free throws. We outscore them from the line by five and win by four.”
Wadsworth 45, Magnificat 41
Believe Roundball Classic
MAGNIFICAT 9 14 9 9 — 41
WADSWORTH 10 11 15 9 — 45
Magnificat — Ailish Chambers 2-2-7, Clare Chambers 6-1-16, Cameron Jones 1-2-5, Brenna Varga 2-3-7, Mary Spear 0-0-0, Maria Ellis 0-0-0, Mollie Laspisa 0-0-0, Malore Cannon 1-1-4, Isabel Comer 1-0-2. TOTALS: 13-9-41.
Wadsworth — Taylor Leatherman 3-0-7, Maria Busson 2-0-5, Kacie Evans 3-6-12, Kylee Batey 1-3-5, E’Anna Won 2-3-7, Maggie Long 2-0-5, Stephanie Andrews 0-0-0, Regan Simpson 0-0-0, Sami Shaffer 0-0-0, Allison Elchlinger 1-2-4. TOTALS: 14-14-45.
3-point goals — C. Chambers 3, Jones, Cannon A. Chambers, Long, Leatherman, Busson. Rebounds — Wadsworth 23 (Evans 13), Magnificat 15 (Jones 4). Assists — Wadsworth 7 (Long 3), Magnificat 7 (A. Chambers 2). Records — Wadsworth (8-1), Magnificat (3-6). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 32, Magnificat 24.