After strong start, Lady Pioneers drop DII tourney title game to Bulldogs


Jonathan Alder freshman Mary Ferrito (44) scores near the basket Friday evening against Bloom Carroll. The Lady Pioneers fell to the Bulldogs, 69-57, during the Division II district finals at Westerville Central High School.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
The Jonathan Alder girls basketball team jumped out to a 10-0 lead Friday evening against defending Division II district champion Bloom-Carroll.
That beginning, however, proved to be false advertising at best as the Lady Pioneers eventually fell to the Bulldogs, 69-57, during the district title game at Westerville Central High School.
Sydney Bourquin and Abby Jones both knocked down trifectas during that initial surge and Pioneer Nation got comfortable … maybe a little too much so.
The Bulldogs battled back, starting with a low-block bucket from 6-1 post player Chloe Davis.
Melissa Walbom scored along the baseline to give JA a 12-2 spread.
Bloom-Carroll, though, got a three-pointer from Niki Bradbury. It would prove to be an ominous omen of things to come.
Davis scored once again on the low block and even stepped out from beyond the three-point arc to drill a jumper that pulled BC to within 14-10.
Jones gave Alder a bit of breathing room with a basket, but Makenzee Mason connected on a basket that pulled the Dogs to within 16-12 by the end of the quarter.
Davis, who towered over anyone on the floor for JA, scored nearly at will during the next eight minutes.
Another bucket by Davis whittled the deficit to 19-16.
Mary Ferrito buried a trifecta and then flashed around a screen by Jillian Jaske for a bucket that stretched Alder’s margin to 24-16.
The lead climbed to 10 on Bourquin’s basket.
Davis scored two more baskets to raise her point total to 13 with 2:37 left in the half.
Ferrito sank another three-ball for a 29-20 Alder lead.
Mason swapped three-pointers with JA’s Emma Shepherd over the next couple of minutes.
Davis tallied points 14 and 15 with a shot off the glass that pulled the Bulldogs to within 31-24.
Jaske gave JA a 33-25 halftime lead on a baseline bucket.
Alder coach Steve Cawley’s halftime strategy was to limit any more damage that Davis could do.
That plan worked as she managed only eight points after the turn.
Something else happened during the second half that was not really expected.
Bloom Carroll came out in the third period and started shooting well from the perimeter.
Trifectas by McKenzie Powers and Mason kick-started the offense.
Still, Alder maintained leads of five and seven points as the third quarter clocked rapidly moved.
Jones scored on the offensive glass for a 40-33 margin, but a three-ball by Mason and a bucket by Powers sliced Alder’s lead to 40-38 with 1:24 remaining in the quarter.
JA senior Corinne Parker came off the bench to match Davis’ height. She scored on an assist by Shepherd that gave the Pioneers a 42-38 edge.
A Bulldog three-pointer seconds later narrowed the Pioneers’ lead to 42-41 by the end of the set.
Walbom tickled the twine on a trifecta that gave JA a bit of breathing room at 47-43 early in the fourth stanza.
Bradbury, though, cashed in on a couple three-balls of her own.
The second one of the stretch gave the Dogs their first lead of the game – 49-47 – and fans could sense a huge switch in momentum.
“From our scouting reports and the films we watched, No. 32 (Bradbury) hadn’t scored that much,” admitted Cawley. “We just didn’t get a defender over in time to get in her face.”
Bradley hit five of BC’s 11 three-pointers for the game.
It was also about this time that the Lady Pioneers started missing shots that normally fell for them.
“We had good looks, but they didn’t drop,” said Cawley.
Maddy Wyant joined the long-distance dialing with a three-ball that pushed Bloom Carroll out to a 52-47 lead.
The Dogs’ advantage later grew to 57-47 when, who else but Bradbury (who finished with 22 points) swished a three-pointer.
Things went from bad to worse as Alder suffered several turnovers.
The Bulldogs began working the clock after regaining possession and forced JA to begin fouling.
Bloom Carroll put the game on ice down the stretch with a number of free throws.
The charity stripe was very friendly to the Bulldogs as they hit 12-of-17 for the night.
Alder, on the other hand, made three-of-six.
Bloom Carroll
Davis 10-2-23, Bradbury 6-5-22, Mason 5-5-18, Wyant 1-0-3, Powers 1-0-3, Bryant 0-0-0. Totals 23-12-69.
Three-point goals: Bradbury 5, Mason 3, Davis 1, Wyant 1, Powers 1.
Jonathan Alder
Ferrito 6-0-14, Walbom 5-0-12, Jones 4-2-12, Jaske 3-0-6, Bourquin 2-1-6, Shepherd 2-0-5, Parker 1-0-2, S. Bushong 0-0-0, Zawodny 0-0-0. Totals 23-3-57.
Three-point goals: Ferrito 2, Walbom 2, Jones 2, Bourquin 1, Shepherd 1.

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