By ANDREW WILLIAMS
for the review times
GIBSONBURG — Arcadia coach Randy Baker has been Arcadia’s head girls basketball coach for 31 years, and with that experience comes the ability to stay calm when the game tightens up.
“I’m too old to get excited anymore,” he said with a laugh.
His team feeds off that calmness, too. Although the Redskins went 4 of 11 from the free-throw line in the final 1:07 of the game Thursday night, they were able to gut out a 54-51 victory over Toledo Christian in a Division IV district semifinal.
Arcadia (19-5) advanced to meet Carey (21-2) for the district title Saturday at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils blasted Danbury 72-20 in the first semifinal of the evening.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate the last few years,” Baker said. “We get in this situation and we’ve played in front of a lot of people like this before in our run we had last year to the regional finals.
“We’ve got really great fans. We win ballgames, they like watching us play and they follow us. The kids have been in this situation before. We’ve had a lot of close games this year and they know what it takes to, hopefully, play and pull a game out in those situations.”
A basket by Maddie Mock, who finished with a game-high 20 points, gave the Redskins a 50-40 lead with less than 3 minutes to play.
Missed free throws by the Redskins, however, helped Toledo Christian narrow the count to 50-45 with 42.1 seconds left.
“It makes it a little nerve-wracking for me on the bench when that happens, but teams get like that,” Baker said. “We’ve got some good shooters here, but it’s just one of those days. It happens. You’ve just got to get tough and play through it.”
A pair of Camille Gist 3-pointers sandwiched around a 1-of-2 showing at the line from Courtney Cramer put the Redskins ahead 53-51 with 8.7 seconds to go.
Cramer leaked out on an inbound pass and got fouled, converting 1 of 2 with 4.8 seconds to play to make it 54-51. A 3-point attempt from the Eagles didn’t fall, though, and the Redskins prevailed.
Arcadia held a 28-24 halftime lead despite Cramer and Glick ending the half with only three points apiece. Mock had 16 in the opening two quarters and the Redskins got contributions from others while Toledo Christian (17-7) concentrated most of its attention on the Redskins’ leading scorers.
“We made some shots when we had to,” Baker said. “We had to step it up on our defense, too, which helped. It’s a team win. Everybody’s got to step up. If somebody gets in foul trouble, somebody else has got to come in and contribute. It’s to the point now where everybody’s got to step up and we kind of did that tonight.”
Cramer finished with 10 points and Glick grabbed nine boards for Arcadia. Gist and Darian Westmeyer both tallied 18 points each, while Faith Johnson added 10 for Toledo Christian.
NOTE: Arcadia is selling tickets for the district final game today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school. Tickets will also be available from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Mock 9-0–20, Kirian 3-2–8, Glick 3-1–7, Cramer 3-2–10, Dauterman 2-1–5, Ware 2-0-4, Coward 0-0–0. TOTALS: 22-39 6-14 — 54.
TOLEDO CHRISTIAN (51)
Westmeyer 7-4–18, Draper 1-0–3, Kempton 0-0–0, Johnston 0-0–0, Salsbury 0-0–0, Gist 7-0–18, Johnson 2-5–10. TOTALS: 18-48 9-13 — 51.
Arcadia 16 12 14 10 – 54
Toledo Christian 17 7 12 15 – 51
3-Point GOALS: Arcadia 4-6 (Mock, Cramer 2); Toledo Christian (Gist 4, Johnson, Draper).
rebounds: Arcadia 28 (Glick 9); Toledo Christian 23 (Westmeyer 9).
turnovers: Arcadia 13, Toledo Christian 9.