Tuesday, January 24th, 2023
Indians win second straight
By Tom Haines
FORT RECOVERY - After winning just two of its first 14 games, the Fort Recovery girls basketball team has now won two in a row.
The Indians only trailed for 4:46 and shot 12-of-14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to clinch a 41-35 victory over Indian Lake at Fort Site Fieldhouse on Monday.
"Great team win," Fort Recovery coach Holly Gann said. "We had to win it down the stretch, make some free throws when it mattered. These girls are learning and growing, and I think that's been the message since the start of the season, that we just have to keep getting better."
The Lakers took their last lead with a fast start to the fourth quarter, as Stephanie Altstaetter put back a miss 12 seconds into the quarter and Katie Roby hit a long jump shot down the baseline 27 seconds later to put Indian Lake (6-12) up 26-25.
From there, though, the Lakers' defense got overly aggressive, committing back-to-back-to-back fouls after only committing two total in the first three quarters. After Schwieterman blocked a Saige Leuthold shot, Eva Kahlig hustled for the rebound and hit a layup as Allison Kinney was called for a foul. Indian Lake's bench argued that the foul came before the shot, but to no avail.
Kahlig missed the and-one, but Karlie Niekamp forced a five-second turnover on the other end and Kennedy Muhlenkamp drew a foul and hit two shots to give Fort Recovery (4-12) a three-point lead with 5:33 to play.
"I can't look at some of these guys and say they had their best game, and we didn't have our best game," Gann said. "We gave them lots of opportunities early, and even some late, to be able to multiply off some of our mistakes. But we found a way to finish when it was important and we needed to."
Muhlenkamp stole the ball on the other end, and after three Indians shots, Schwieterman finally grabbed a rebound, only to be called for traveling as she fell to the floor. Muhlenkamp got another bucket, Schwieterman hit a free throw to make it a four-point game, and the Indians started to go to the line for one-and-ones.
Cali Wendel missed the first end of her first trip to the line, but the Lakers turned the ball over and Muhlenkamp hit two shots to extend the lead to six.
Kennedy Schwaderer, Schwieterman and Mackenzie Dixon got buckets down the stretch and Schwieterman hit two free throws, but the Indians shot 9-of-9 from the line in the final 2 1/2 minutes to maintain the margin.
"It was everybody," Gann said. "Everybody pitched in a couple free throws here and there. Then passing, we were really unselfish at times. Good team effort is what we need to win these close games."
After a defensive, back-and-forth first quarter, Fort Recovery emerged with a four-point lead late through the second after a layup by Maddie Guggenbiller made it 14-10. Dixon responded with a hoop-and-harm, Roby and Dixon grabbed steals, and a jump shot by Dixon and a layup by Carly Strayer made it 17-14 Lakers with 1:39 left in the half.
Niekamp cut the deficit to one with a long jumper behind a screen by Guggenbiller, then hit a layup on a pass from Wendel to send the Indians into the half with an 18-17 lead.
Fort Recovery tried to create separation in the third, with a Wendel trey briefly stretching the lead to four, but fell back on defense to stay in the driver's seat. After the Lakers hit a pair of buckets in the first three minutes, the Indians allowed just one free throw the rest of the quarter.
Gann started out running a man-to-man defense that held up well in the first half, but switched to zone in the third and kept Indian Lake off balance.
"I told them jokingly, I think we play our best basketball when we don't think," Gann said. "If we talk a lot less, they play a lot better. It's kind of a weird concept, but that's what it is. We just keep it simple and they go out and play hard, control what they can control."
Muhlenkamp finished with 12 points and Wendel added 11. Dixon scored a game-high 13.
Fort Recovery returns to action Thursday with a Midwest Athletic Conference game as St. Henry comes to town.