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Minerva's physical play at both ends of the court proved to be the difference as the Lady Lions posted a 43-32 win over host Beaver in a Division II sectional final.
The Lady Lions played without the services of their leading scorer, Bri Gassman, who missed the game with a knee injury.
Nelle Yankovich had her best game of the season, scoring 11 points, including a 7-of-9 effort from the charity stripe. She also had six rebounds and four steals.
Lauren Frigyes had eight pints and three boards; Madi Pearson had six points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists; Kayla Kinsey had six points, seven rebounds and three steals; Alivia Bates had six points and three assists; and Nora Yankovich had six points and three rebounds.
Minerva jumped out to an 11-4 first-quarter lead and were never threatened the rest of the way as it improved to 13-10.
The girls increased their lead to 22-10 entering halftime, and found themselves up 30-19 heading into the final frame.
A key to the win for the Lady Lions was their free-throw shooting. The winners connected on 18-of-23, while Beaver was just 9-of-17.
"Our game plan going in was to take away their transition game and make them run a half-court offense," commented Head Coach Heather Frigyes. "Beaver likes to get out and push the ball on a defensive rebound, looking to score on the run. When they do set up in a half-court offense, they look to score within the first couple passes.
"Our girls did a fantastic job of hustling back to take away their transition option and our zone made them run a half-court offense, which took them out of their comfort zone.
"Offensively, we had a balanced scoring attack and not only earned 23 attempts from the charity stripe, but converted 18 of them. We also out rebounded them 27-22.
"Although Bri is not able to play due to an ACL injury that occurred in our final game of the regular season, she is still contributing as a student-coach on the bench and helping others in practice. Her absence is a significant loss for us. She is our leading scorer at 14.8 points and rebounder with 7.5.
"We used the two-week break to regroup and reconfigure our personnel. As we continue down the tournament road, our main focus will be that we have to execute and do the little things right to compete and advance."
Minerva (13-10), the eighth seed, was to face Maysville (#4) in a district semifinal on Wednesday, March 1, 7 p.m. at West Holmes High School.
The other half of the bracket features Dover (#9) battling top-seeded New Philadelphia. The two winners will play for the district title on Saturday, March 4, 1 p.m.