The West Delaware girls basketball season came to an end with a 48-32 loss to the Wahlert Catholic Golden Eagles in a Class 4A regional semifinal game at Wahlert Feb. 13.
West Delaware led 11-6 with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter before Wahlert answered with a pair of baskets to cut the Hawks lead to 11-10 at the quarter.
Coach Rod Conrad said a breakdown in the Hawks press led to the Wahlert rally. “They scored a couple of times off our press when we didn’t have anyone in the middle. We did it two possessions in a row where we didn’t go to the ball.”
A back-and-forth second quarter saw the Hawks hang on to the lead until an 8-0 Golden Eagles run gave Wahlert a 24-18 lead. Macey Kleitsch hit an inside shot to make it 24-20. After a Wahlert basket, Kleitsch scored again to it 26-22. A pair of Ella Koloc free throws trimmed the Wahlert lead to 26-24 heading into halftime.
Kleitsch led the Hawks with nine first-half points.
The second half proved to be the difference as West Delaware could manage only eight second-half points, four in each quarter.
Wahlert Catholic switched to a 1-2-2 zone defensively, stymieing the Hawks on offense. West Delaware committed four turnover and had a missed shot in their first five possessions of the third quarter.
Conrad said his kids were prepared for Wahlert’s switch to zone. “We worked on that in practice, but we had some girls who weren’t in the right spots. We got some great looks and had some great opportunities but we couldn’t make shots.”
Wahlert had trouble scoring, keeping the Hawks in the game. After a Wahlert basket made it 28-24, Koloc went the length of the court and scored to make it 28-26.
A basket and a three-pointer by the Golden Eagles extended the Wahlert lead to 33-26 before Eva Winn found Kleitsch inside for a basket to make it 33-28. It was the last basket the Hawks would hit in the third quarter. A Wahlert basket made it 35-28 heading into the fourth.
Allison Collier found the basket on West Delaware’s first possession and cut the Wahlert lead to 35-30. But the Hawks came up empty on their next 12 offensive possessions. Georgie Hilby’s basket with less than a minute to play was all the Hawks could muster as the Golden Eagles outscored West Delaware 13-4 in the quarter.
Coach Conrad said too many offensive rebounds by Wahlert led to second-chance points. “Rebounding tonight came down to toughness. We talked about that heading into the game that we would need toughness on the boards. We were bigger than they were and I thought we were as strong. But their offensive rebounding tonight killed us.”
West Delaware finished the year 3-16.
“I told the girls in the locker room that in 20 years of coaching this was one of the most enjoyable teams I’ve ever coached,” Conrad said. “They came to practice and wanted to get better. That makes it so much more fun to coach. They are a heck of a good group.”
Kleitsch finished with 11 points. Koloc had eight, Collier six, Sydney Morris five and Hilby two.