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Eagles power into D-I regional

03/02/2014, 1:26am EST
By STEVE JUNGA BLADE SPORTS WRITER

1st quarter dictates pace in win over Perrysburg

Eagles fly past Yellow Jackets

Notre Dame's Tierra Floyd shoots over Perrysburg's Sarah Baer. Floyd scored 22 points.

MILLBURY — At halftime of Saturday’s Division I girls district basketball final at Lake, Pat Benatar’s 1980 hit song "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" blared over the public address system.

By then, Notre Dame had already done that to Perrysburg, and the rest was just a matter of sorting out the final details in a 52-35 win.

Behind a red-hot Tierra Floyd, the seventh-ranked Eagles (22-3) jumped out to a 22-6 first-quarter lead.

“It was very important for us to get off to a good start,” Eagles coach Travis Galloway said. “We just beat them two weeks ago, and I thought maybe their confidence would be a little questionable.”

Floyd hit three of her four 3-pointers in the game as part of her 13 points in the opening period, and finished with a game-high 22 points to lead Notre Dame to its third straight trip to the D-I regionals.

“My teammates found me,” Floyd said. “I was glad they could get me the ball. When I was in a good position to shoot, I shot it.

“We always want to come out fast. Our coach said to bury them, and we did. Our defense really contributed to how our offense went today. It feels really good to get back to regionals.”

The Three Rivers Athletic Conference champion Eagles also got 13 points from Mariah Copeland, and 10 points and 10 rebounds from Kaayla McIntyre.

The Eagles will face Rocky River Magnificat in a regional semifinal 7 p.m. Tuesday at Norwalk High School.

Perrysburg (22-4) has seen its tournament trail end against Notre Dame for three consecutive seasons.

The sixth-ranked Yellow Jackets, champions of the Northern Lakes League, got 15 points and 10 rebounds from Allex Brown, and 13 points and 13 rebounds from Sarah Baer.

The Jackets had lost to the Eagles in the regional semifinals in 2012 (19-5 record) and 2013 (23-2). Each year Notre Dame advanced to the state semifinals.

“It was their speed in the backcourt and length in the frontcourt,” Perrysburg coach Todd Sims said of the reason Notre Dame prevailed. “We would miss some shots in other games and get putbacks with our post players. We don’t get those against them.

“And, it’s just a struggle to get the ball from the backcourt to the frontcourt because their quickness on defense. We tried. We did our best.”

The Eagles had also beaten Perrysburg 50-35 in the regular-season finale between the two teams at Perrysburg two weeks ago.

Floyd, a 6-foot-2 junior wing, hit five of her six first-half shots from the field, including all four of her 3-point tries en route to 16 points by halftime, when Notre Dame held a commanding 32-11 lead.

Ahead just 8-6 after Perrysburg got two free throws from Brown with 3:41 left in the first quarter, the Eagles closed the period with a game-breaking 14-0 run capped by Talajha Parker’s buzzer-beating basket from the lane.

“Our kids are starting to understand how important defensive ball pressure is, and how to funnel teams away from what they want to do offensively,” Galloway said of shutting down the Yellow Jackets. “Our guard play with our starters, and off the bench, was tremendous.”

Although less dominant after the break, Notre Dame kept the upper hand with a 14-11 third quarter, and had enough in the bank to survive a 1-for-12 effort from the field in the final quarter.

“This is a good win, especially to beat Perrysburg, and to get to regionals three times in a row,” McIntyre said. “We have to keep working hard in practice, and stay focused to get the job done and get to states again.

“We have good team chemistry. We share the ball, and we’re very unselfish. We know where to look for each other.”

Floyd, who has had nagging right shoulder pain recently, left the game after falling on the shoulder on a drive to the basket with 2:17 remaining.

She attempted one free throw, but then could not continue. She said she expects to be ready for Tuesday’s regional semifinal.

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter@JungaBlade.

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Tag(s): Perrysburg  Notre Dame Academy  Steve Junga