COLUMBUS -- Hindered by foul trouble, especially at key stages of the game, Rogers saw its eight-point halftime lead dwindle down and eventually disappear today in a 50-47 loss to second-ranked Kettering Alter in a Division II girls state basketball semifinal at the Schottenstein Center.
The 12th-ranked, City League champion Rams (24-5), making their first appearance in a state final four, seemed in control early on. They bolted to a 9-0 lead, and took a 30-22 edge to the break against the Knights (29-0), who had never trailed at halftime all season.
But Rogers’ fourth-year starter and team leader, Sasha Dailey, picked up her third foul on a questionable charging call 2:10 into the third quarter, when the Rams held a 30-24 lead.
Instead of a basket and potential free throw for a nine-point lead, the field goal was waved off and Dailey, a second-team All-Ohio guard, went to the bench.
When Alter chipped away at Rogers' lead, pulling within 34-33 with 1:19 left in the third quarter, Rams coach Lamar Smith put Dailey back into the game.
She made an immediate impact, scoring on a 15-footer from the right baseline to push Rogers’ lead to three points.
But Dailey then drew her fourth foul with 8.6 seconds left in the third, and the Knights’ Braxtin Miller hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 36 entering the fourth quarter.
Alter took a 38-36 lead 38 seconds into the final period, and never trailed again. Dailey returned, fouling out with 32.8 seconds remaining, and Libby Bazelak’s two resulting free throws gave the Knights a 48-43 lead.
Rogers staged a near miracle rally in the closing seconds, getting a put-back bucket from Tori Easley with 24 seconds left, and another basket nine seconds later on Akienreh Johnson’s steal and layup, which pulled the Rams within a point.
But Alter broke Rogers’ press, and Hayley Combs scored on an uncontested layup with seven seconds to go. A desperation 3-point try by Rogers freshman Brelynn Hampton-Bey just before the final buzzer fell short.
Dailey topped Rogers with 10 points, Johnson had eight points and seven rebounds, and Easley and Jasmyne Smith added seven points each.
Alter’s Emma Bockrath led all scorers with 14 points, Maddie Bazelak had nine points, and Miller added eight for the Knights.
The game officials whistled Rogers for 20 fouls and Alter for just seven in the game. The Knights were 14 of 22 from the line, Rogers 4 of 5.