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Edison survives frantic final minute to advance

By JOSH MORGRET • Feb 23, 2019 at 11:07 PM

LEXINGTON — The last five minutes were not pretty by any means.

But, despite allowing 13 straight points to tie the game, Edison's defense came up with its biggest stop of the game when it needed it.

The Chargers faded two shots by Crestview inside of five feet, holding on for a 41-39 win in a Division III sectional championship game at Lexington High School on Saturday.

"We had to take care of the ball, but we just made some stupid passes," Edison coach Tracey Moyer said. "We let Crestview back into it. Thankfully, we are a good defensive team, so we made it as hard as possible for them to tie it up."

No. 3 seed Edison improved to 19-5 overall and will meet No. 2 Seneca East (21-2) in a district semifinal on Thursday at Shelby High School at 6:15 p.m. The Tigers won the regular season matchup, 49-36, on Dec. 27 in Attica.

"My heart rate was way out of here," Moyer said. "We told the girls that if Crestview got a shot, we had to box out and not let them get another. Fortunately for us, it just did not go in."

The Chargers watched their 39-26 lead with about five minutes left completely evaporate as Kenedi Goon hit two free throws with 33.7 seconds left to tie the game for the Cougars (17-5).

Crestview applied a full-court press, but Aliyah Caporini navigated the defense and drove the lane and found an open Mariah Medina. However, her shot was blocked, but Alana Fidler grabbed the rebound and put it up and in for the lead.

From there, Crestview and Edison each used a timeout with 9.8 seconds left. The Cougars inbounded the ball and got a good look for Goon on a pick-and-roll. Her shot rolled around the rim and off. Mary Leeper grabbed the rebound and put it back up, but to no avail.

A scrum ensued for the loose ball as time expired and Edison breathed a deep sigh of relief, advancing to their first district semifinal since 2012 and tying the school record with 19 wins.

"We were down (13) in the second half and the girls made it close," Crestview coach Aaron Goon said. "We had those little shots at the end. It has kind of been our curse all year — the easy ones. For some reason, we had that in and out on those."

Moyer and Vitaz both acknowledged a bit of revenge was on the minds of the Chargers. Crestview ousted Edison in last year's sectional final, 41-33.

"We had talked about that," Moyer said. "They beat us last year and they jumped right in on our bracket. We used that to our advantage to make sure the girls came out with intensity."

The Chargers led the game from start to finish, but really took over late in the third quarter. Caporini scored consecutive buckets to give Edison a 34-26 lead after three quarters. Fidler opened the fourth quarter with her first bucket of the game — a 3 from the left side before Medina added a layup for a 39-26 lead.

But, the Cougars kicked up the defensive pressure as the offense found a rhythm and flow. Seven straight points by Crestview led to an Edison timeout with 3:03 left.

The Chargers attempted to run the clock out, but three turnovers in a row disrupted that idea. Goon forced one of those turnovers with a steal and layup with 1:24 left, drawing Crestview within 39-37.

"I think Crestview got tired from our constant pressure," Moyer said. "It led to errant passes. We just wanted to pressure, pressure, pressure. It wears people down."

A baseline drive by Caporini and 3-point play by Vitaz opened the game's scoring. Edison led, 7-4, after one quarter before Vitaz hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 13-4 lead.

"Hannah was huge," Moyer said. "We were not scoring much early then she hit two big 3s in a row that built the lead up. That fired the team up because she is an outspoken leader out there."

Crestview fought back and scored the next eight points to get within a point, but Jessica Stoll scored off of an offensive rebound and Molly Houser hit a baseline jumper for a 17-12 lead. Autumn Bailey scored for the Cougars, but Stoll scored off of a turnover for a 19-14 lead at halftime.

"We were focused on pushing the ball down the floor," Vitaz said. "I think we did that well. We practiced calming down and not throwing the ball away. We had to run our offense."

A jumper by Bailey drew Crestview within 21-20 in the third quarter, but Vitaz again had the answer. Her 3 from the right side, coupled with a score by Caporini off of a Cougars turnover, extended the lead back to six points.

Kathleen Leeper led Crestview with 11 points while Goon tallied eight points and eight rebounds — well under her season averages of 13.2 points and 10.3 rebounds.

"We had seen a couple films and knew they wanted to lob it over the top to Kenedi," Moyer said. "We made sure we had help on the backside. When she did come down with it, we wanted someone to be in front of her and behind her. That worked the whole first half."

Vitaz tallied 14 points and seven rebounds while Fidler grabbed 10 rebounds.

EDISON (19-5)

Aliyah Caporini 4-0—8, Mariah Medina 1-0—2, Molly Houser 4-0—8, Alana Fidler 2-0—5, Hannah Vitaz 4-3—14, Jessica Stoll 2-0—4. TOTALS 17-3—41.

CRESTVIEW (17-5)

Katheen Leeper 4-2—11, Emily Fry 1-1—3, Mary Leeper 2-0—4, Elly Motter 1-0—2, Kristin Douglas 1-0—2, Kenedi Goon 3-2—8, Autumn Bailey 4-1—9. TOTALS 16-6—39.

Edison      7 12 15  7 — 41

Crestview 4 10 12 13 — 39

3-point FGs: (E) Vitaz 3, Fidler; (C) K. Leeper

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