MEDINA — Medina played about as bad a first half of girls basketball as it could Thursday night.
Luckily for the Bees, youth brings with it a short memory.
Freshman Sarah McKee seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter and sophomore Lindsey Linard hit both ends of a one-and-one with 2.2 seconds left as the fourth-seeded Bees rallied past fifth-seeded Lakewood 39-38 in a Valley Forge Division I Sectional final.
The winner advanced to play top-seeded Berea-Midpark (20-3) Monday at Valley Forge.
“Sarah really stepped up, and Lindsey was totally calm at the line,” Bees coach Karen Kase said.
Linard gave Medina (15-9) a 37-36 lead with 1:42 left on a pair of free throws. After the teams traded turnovers, Lakewood (12-12) picked off a pass and Courtney Ribar hit a layup in transition while being fouled. She missed the free throw.
The teams traded possessions and McKee missed a close shot, but a held ball on the rebound went to the Bees with 8.4 seconds left.
Medina worked it to Linard, who was fouled by Lakewood senior center Olivia Nagy (13 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks) on a bunny with 2.2 left.
“I’ve never been in a situation like that, but I felt very calm, confident,” Linard said. “I knew even if I didn’t make the free throw, we were going to get the rebound. No doubt in my mind.”
Linard made the first to tie the game, and Lakewood called timeout. Kase offered to take her final timeout so Linard could catch her breath and settle down before the second free throw.
“She said, ‘I got it,’” Kase said.
“I didn’t want to get out of my rhythm in the game,” Linard said.
She went back to the line and calmly sank the second free throw. The Rangers inbounded the ball and Isabel Cintron fired a half-courter that landed wide right at the buzzer.
“We knew the game wasn’t over. Two-point-two seconds, anything can happen,” Linard said. “When that buzzer sounded, we were all very excited.”
McKee and junior Madison Luthy helped set up Linard’s late heroics, as the Bees rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit. They were still down eight with two minutes left in the third quarter.
After the Bees shot just 3-for-19 in the first half, Luthy had three baskets in the first two minutes of the second. She then had a pair of huge 3-pointers on successive possessions in the fourth quarter, helping Medina close within two points with 4:30 left.
“We want to be in attack mode, and Madison brings instant offense sometimes but instant energy always,” Kase said. “She’s an offensive sparkplug for us.”
McKee, matched up against the 6-foot-3 Nagy most of the game, finally found space in the fourth quarter, splitting a pair of free throws and adding two buckets in a 1:30 span late in the quarter.
“My teammates were moving the ball well, and I was able to pin (Nagy) a couple of times,” she said. “That first shot gave me an extra boost.”
The Bees committed 17 turnovers in the first half and the Rangers closed on an 11-1 run. But Medina finished with just 22 turnovers overall, turning up the pressure with a half-court trap that helped force 11 Lakewood turnovers after the break.
“There were definitely some nerves, and I thought those first two or three minutes we weren’t playing well at all,” Kase said. “We had desire and urgency in the second half. All the girls realized it.”
“We all talked as a team; we knew what we needed to do and how to fix it,” Linard added.
Contact Chris Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 39, Lakewood 38
Valley Forge Division I Sectional Final
LAKEWOOD 9 11 7 11 — 38
MEDINA 7 4 11 17 — 39
Lakewood – Christian Massey 3-12 3-4 9, Olivia Nagy 5-10 3-6 13 , Courtney Ribar 2-5 2-5 7, Claire Hylton 1-6 0-0 2, Isabel Cintron 3-8 0-0 7, Ava Clause 0-3 0-0 0, Bryce Binion 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14-45 8-15 38.
Medina — Madison Luthy 5-11 0-0 12, Sarah McKee 2-8 5-6 9, Lindsey Linard 1-6 4-4 6, Abby McMullen 1-8 2-4 5, Alexa Nau 0-3 0-0 0, Olivia Gordon 0-3 0-0 0, Alysen Dwyer 1-2 0-0 2, Klara Bergholtz 2-2 0-0 5, Elizabeth Stuart 0-3 0-0 0. TOTALS: 12-46 11-14 39.
3-point goals — Lakewood 2-9 (Cintron 1-3, Ribar 1-3, Clause 0-2, Binion 0-1), Medina 4-15 (Luthy 2-5, McMullen 1-4, Bergholtz 1-1, Stuart 0-1, Gordon 0-2, Nau 0-2). Rebounds — Lakewood 31 (Nagy 11), Medina 36 (McMullen 6). Assists — Lakewood 7 (Massey, Nagy 2), Medina 10 (Nau 5). Turnovers — Lakewood 21 (Massey 7), Medina 22 (Nau 7). Fouls — Lakewood 13, Medina 9. Fouled out — None. Records — Lakewood (12-12), Medina (15-9).