Marysville’s Kass Lee (20) drives toward the basket Friday evening against Grove City. Lee tallied 22 points during the Lady Monarchs’ Division I tournament opening win. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Senior Kass Lee poured in 22 points and Marysville’s girls basketball team overcame a difficult third quarter Friday evening.
Both of those factors led to the 16th-seeded Lady Monarchs’ 47-35 triumph over No. 24 Grove City in the opening round of the Division I tournament.
Marysville had things pretty much under control during the first half.
Lee scored on a traditional three-point play as MHS jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Alyssa Strahm put Marysville (17-5) in double-digit scoring.
Her trifecta pushed MHS out to a 10-2 margin with 2:07 left in the opening quarter.
Ava Krutowskis followed suit with a three-ball that sent the Lady Monarchs into the ensuing period with a 14-4 advantage.
A trey from Alissa Schiff pulled the Greyhounds to within 14-9 during the early going of the second set.
Marysville’s lockdown defense, however, kept Grove City struggling for the next several minutes.
A three-pointer from Ava Wilkerson elevated MHS’ lead to 20-9 within the first three minutes of the stanza.
Strahm fed Lee for another bucket that stretched Marysville’s margin to 24-11 with 2:14 until the turn.
Lee then went baseline for a layup that gave the Lady Monarchs a 26-12 spread.
Grove City missed free throws late in the half.
MHS quickly got the ball down the other end of the court.
Lee was fouled at the horn.
She connected on one of two charity shots as MHS took a 27-12 lead at the break.
“We’ve had a habit of not coming out very strong in the third quarter,” said Lady Monarch coach Klarke Ransome.
That defect in Marysville’s game was on display against Grove City.
The Greyhounds tallied a pair of trifectas as they battled their way back.
The visitors pulled to within 29-22 with 3:42 left in the quarter on a shot from beyond the arc.
Lee broke MHS’ dry spell with a basket that gave the team a bit of breathing room at 31-22.
Krutowskis scored on the offensive glass to help send Marysville into the final quarter with just a 33-24 lead.
“We’ve got to find a way to move and be ready to roll after halftime,” said Ransome.
Things also got a little tense for Lady Monarch Nation within the first two minutes of the final quarter.
The Greyhounds used the charity stripe to whittle their gap down to 33-28.
The teams swapped possessions over the next minute-plus of the quarter.
That’s when MHS senior Tinley Graves came up with a huge “money” shot.
Graves was scoreless up until the fourth quarter clock read 4:52.
She tickled the twine on a huge three-pointer and was also fouled on the play.
Her free throw padded MHS’ lead at 37-28. It turned the tide of the contest.
“Tinley can make the big shot,” said Ransome. “I was proud of her for taking that shot.”
Grove City got as close as seven points (37-30) the rest of the way.
Krutowskis hit a bucket for a 39-30 lead, while Lee scored on an inbounds play for a 41-30 margin.
With time ticking away, Grove City had no choice but to foul in order to stop the clock.
Free throws by Wilkerson, Lee and Krutowskis sealed the deal.
The Lady Monarchs will return to tournament action at No. 6 Grove City on Wednesday, 7 p.m.
K. Lee 9-4-22, Krutowskis 3-3-10, Wilkerson 2-2-7, Graves 1-1-4, Strahm 1-0-3, Sloan 0-1-1, Brown 0-0-0. Totals 16-11-47.
Three-point goals: Krutowskis 1, Wilkerson 1, Graves 1, Strahm 1.
Keeney 4-1-11, Podlock-Ballard 3-5-11, Jones 1-5-7, Schiff 2-1-6, Turner 0-0-0, Anderson 0-0-0, Waugh 0-0-0, Talbot 0-0-0. Totals 10-13-35.
Three-point goals: Keeney 2, Schiff 1.
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