In basketball, playing point guard is much like being a quarterback on the football.
In those terms, Bolivar may have found the girls’ basketball version of Andrew Luck in point guard Shelby Roberts.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME
The stone faced junior calmly led her team to a Class 4 District 10 semifinal win 55-52 over Hillcrest Thursday night in Marshfield.
“She’s our glue. We’ve got a young group and outside of our seniors she’s one of the most experienced players on our team. She does a great job of leading and was definitely a calming influence when we needed her to be one,” said Bolivar coach Darin Archer.
After a back and forth first half that ended in a tie at 21, the Lady Liberators were able to punish the Lady Hornets inside, despite standout Peyton Peavey being saddled with foul trouble for much of the game.
Sophomore Mary Beth Payne stepped in and scored nine of her team-high 16 in the pivotal third quarter that saw Bolivar outscore Hillcrest 23-11.
“Mary Beth was big for us tonight. They have done a great job of complimenting each other all year. There’s been times when Peyton has had to play with Mary Beth and vice versa and I think that’s the good thing about this team. We’ve got some people that can step in and fill roles. Tonight was Mary Beth’s turn and she made the most of it,” said Archer.
Despite a furious Hillcrest come back in the fourth quarter, keyed by sophomore guard Kelsi Cleeton’s 10 points in the period, Bolivar, who missed nine fourth quarter free throws, made just enough to hold on for the win.
It may have been free throws that put Bolivar over the top, but it was defense that led to them winning the game.
“We knew that between Cleeton, Fisher and Painter that we had to slow somebody down and that isn’t an easy task. In the first half we did a good job of limiting her shots, and in the second half we were able to slow down Fisher,” said Archer.
Kelbi Painter and Brittany Fisher finished with four and 12 respectively.
With the win, Bolivar moves on to Saturday’s championship against Marshfield. The Lady Jays were a 62-48 winner over Eldon. Marshfield topped Bolivar 54-51 in January, leading to Marshfield claiming the COC-Small title.
“It’s a big game. It’s been this way for about the last 30 years when Bolivar and Marshfield get together. It’ll be a full gym with two very good teams going at each other with an awful lot on the line. It seems that every time these two teams get together there’s a lot on the line. They definitely have our respect. They’ve got one of the area’s best players, and really one of the state’s best in Aldridge. We know that we’re going to have to slow some people down and get some stops on defense to have a chance to win,” said Archer.
Hillcrest 10-11-11-20 -- 52
Bolivar 14-7-23-11 – 55
Hillcrest: Gerald 7, Kel. Cleeton 18, Fisher 12, Painter 4, Beam 2, Ruggles 6, Todd 3.
Bolivar: Emmert 3, Roberts 14, Payne 16, Jacobson 2, Hancock 10, Peavey 5, Lesh 3, Spear 2.
Marshfield 62, Eldon 48 -- CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME
In the other semifinal, district host Marshfield jumped out to a 17-6 first quarter lead, behind Kansas commit Lauren Aldridge’s 8 points, en route to earning a berth in Saturday’s district final 62-48 over Eldon.
“Eldon came out and played extremely well. They are very active and their zone is elongated because you’ve got Sara on the outside being 6-foot-2. They came at us all night long which is a tribute to their team, but we were poised, executed in the second half and finished,” said Marshfield coach Shelly Jones.
That zone gave Marshfield few problems in the opening half, as the Lady Jays also outscored Eldon 14-11 in the second quarter, opening up a 14 point halftime lead.
The Lady Jays would answer every Eldon run in the second half, getting big buckets from juniors Aldridge and VanDiggelen.
For Jones, whose team started just 3-7, having the opportunity to play in the district title game is a testament to her team’s toughness.
“To bring in a new woman, a new system, and they had to bite down on the bullet and really start believing in what we were trying to do. At the beginning of the year we were thinking, and now we’re reacting. That is a huge part of it, and also to see them grow and mature together. It’s been great to watch,” said Jones.
Aldridge would finish with a game-high 28 points, out dueling the Lady Mustang’s standout sophomore Sara Rhine.
With the win Marshfield sets up a rematch with Bolivar, a squad they defeated xx-xx to claim the COC-Small crown earlier in the month.
“We have to play Marshfield basketball regardless of who we play. At the end of the season you can’t adjust what you do. You do what you and hope that’s good enough,” said Jones.
Saturday’s district final will take place in Marshfield Saturday at 1 p.m.
Eldon 6-11-16-15 -- 48
Marshfield 17-14-20-20 – 62
Eldon: Rhine 25, Hankey 4, Lisson 6, Hogan 9, Schmidt 2, Koerner 2.
Marshfield: Aldridge 28, Greenlee 9, VanDiggelen 9, French 6, Clark 6, McCall 1, Smith 3.