Free Throws Lead Lady Bulldogs to Sectional Win Over Liberty Center

Aricka Lutz (pictured) sank 12 of 13 free throws, 11 of them coming in the crucial fourth quarter and the Lady Bulldogs were 16 of 19 overall in a 43-32 victory over the Liberty Center Lady Tigers in the first round of the Girls DIII Sectional Tournament played in Swanton.  The teams were playing in their third game against each other with each school winning on the opponent’s home floor.  However, the stakes were higher in this contest with only the winner able to continue the season.

The game was tight throughout most of the first half with the teams tied at seven apiece after the first quarter and again at 16 all with under a minute remaining in the second.  Just before the end of the half, Averie Lutz was fouled driving to the basket and made both foul shots and Aricka followed that with a lay-up and a foul for a three-point play and a 21-16 Swanton lead as the teams headed for the locker room.

An early basket by Katie Floyd and a three-point shot by Sami Taylor, her second of the game, eventually led to the Bulldogs opening up a nine-point lead halfway through the third quarter.  The Tigers were able to trim that deficit to four before Swanton bumped it back up to six, 28-22, as the quarter ended.

The Bulldogs were able to slowly grow the margin back to nine with foul shots and finally to double digits, 37-27, on a free throw from Maddie Peluso.  Liberty Center began to intentionally foul to get back in the game, but they fouled Aricka Lutz every time who shot 93.3% for the game, which effectively sealed the victory and allowed the Lady Bulldogs to move on.

Aricka’s 23 points led all scorers.  Taylor added seven points while Floyd and Frankie Nelson had four each.  The Lady Tigers were led on the scoresheet by Samantha Graber with 12 points, on four shots from long range.  Cassidy Chappa scored seven points and Alyssa Giesige had four.

The Liberty Center loss ends their season with a 13-9 record.  Swanton improves to 15-8 and will face the Archbold Lady Blue Streaks, a 29-27 Sectional winner over Wauseon, this Saturday, February 21, at 7:00 PM in Swanton’s Kevin McQuade Gymnasium.

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