A strong second half charge gave the Columbus girls a thrilling 37-36 win over IMS on the road Friday night. It was IMS who jumped out early behind an 11 point, seven rebound first quarter from Olivia Yutzy, the IMS lead was 13-9 after the first period. IMS continued to control things in the second quarter, ending the half on a 13-3 run to take a 25-16 lead into the locker room. Following the game IMS Head Coach Aaron Gingerich talked about his teams strong first half.
“It felt like going into halftime we were playing really well, we did a good job of pushing the ball and got some easy baskets in transition, and that is something that we focused on in practice. Riley and Olivia do a good job of handling the ball, so we try open it up for them to push it if they get the rebound, and then we’re spotting up with some of our other shooters,” Gingerich said. “That was key, getting that early lead because Columbus is so good defensively, and in the half court they just make it really tough on you.”
Both squads played even up out of the break, with the IMS lead holding at nine entering the fourth quarter the wildcats made their move. Kelsey Pretz put the Wildcats on her back and scored 10 in the final quarter to help the Wildcats comeback. In the final minute of the game Columbus cut the IMS lead to 34-32 when Martha Anaya came up with a turnover and a baseline jumper to tie the game. Following a time out IMS answered with a tough Yutzy jumper to give them the lead back at 36-34. With under 20 seconds to play Columbus got the ball inside to Pretz who finished through contact and hit the free throw to give the Wildcats a one point lead. The IMS jump shot at the other end was no good and the Wildcats held on for the victory. After the game Columbus Head Coach Kasey Keltner talked about the play of Pretz and his team’s confidence down the stretch.
“We just have to have confidence, and that is the thing with our girls, we struggle with confidence early and not knocking shots down. I want them to take the shot when they are open. The last few games since break we’ve been doing that, just having confidence in our scoring ability,” Keltner said. “I’m not a big timeout guy, we got the ball to the person we needed to get it to, and that was Kelsey Pretz, and she rose up and made the play, and that is something that we have been talking about with her is, yeah she can score the baketball, but what is she going to do under pressure, and she did that. She knocked a free throw down and we win the basketball game.”
Pretz led all scorers with 18 points. IMS was led by Yutzy’s monster game of 17 points and 14 rebounds. IMS is now 8-7 overall and in conference play, Columbus is 5-10 overall, 4-10 in the SEISC.