CANFIELD, OHIO (WKBN) – The top-seeded South Range Raiders advanced in the Division 3 girls tournament Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t easy. Courtesy of a clutch three-pointer with 38-seconds remaining, the Raiders escaped with a 48-44 win over the eighth-seeded Canton Central Catholic Crusaders to reach the tournament semi-finals.
With the game tied at 44 with 38-seconds left, the Raiders hot-shooting junior guard Bri Modic threw up a shot from the left corner. It found all net, propelling the Raiders to a 47-44 lead. Sam Patrone would hit a free throw with just under 7-seconds left to ice the game for the Raiders.
“It was more of a set play, to go opposite of Maddie (Durkin),” Modic explained. “I knew it was going in. I could just tell. Even in practice when I’m shooting three’s I can tell when they are going to fall.”
“I have to keep looking to shoot,” Modic said of her game-winner. “Maddie came up to me right before and was like shoot the ball. I was just really looking for my shot because I can shoot pretty well.”
“That was very deflating,” Crusaders coach Gary Isler remarked. “We knew she was probably their best shooter and we didn’t close out on her in time. Hey, she knocked it down under pressure so give her some credit.”
“I believe that tied her for the season record for three’s,” Raiders coach Tony Matisi remarked. “She is our three-point shooter, we just need to get her going. The thing is, everybody knows that now and they’re guarding her. She was sneaking up on people all year long.”
The Raiders held a 22-19 advantage at the intermission and looked to put the game away early in the second half. They raced out to a 12-point lead with a 12-3 run to start the half. But that is when the Crusaders started to fight back. They would close the third quarter with an 8-4 run to make it 38-30 in favor of the Raiders.
The Crusaders continued to carry the momentum in the fourth period as they went on a 12-2 run to start the final frame. When Erin Krupar connected on a basket with 4:06 remaining in the game, the Crusaders captured their first lead of the contest since the opening moments of the second quarter.
“We had two kids that were having success in penetrating in Ashley (Schott) and Erin (Krupar). It paid off as we were finding open shooters and finding offense for themselves. It was a great effort,” Isler explained the keys to their comeback bid.
“Honestly, just trying to stop the bleeding,” Matisi said of the Crusaders comeback. “Searching through all our sets. We needed a bucket and we drug out some old stuff where we pick and pop. We got one there and then they doubled that. Basically pulling out all the stops.”
“The adrenaline,” Modic exclaimed about the final moments of the game. “It was crazy, but I didn’t give up one time. Even though I didn’t play that much, I didn’t give up one time.”
Canton Catholic Central vs. South Range – Girls High School Basketball Playoffs
Canton Catholic Central vs. South Range – Girls High School Basketball Playoffs x
With the Crusaders leading 44-42, the Crusaders Ashley Schott committed her fifth foul at the 1:57 mark of the fourth. That took the Crusaders leading scoring out of the game, but more importantly, the Raiders Sam Patrone connected on both free throws to tie the game at 44. That set the stage for Modic’s game-winner.
“The kids made a valiant effort coming back,” Isler remarked. “I have to give a lot of credit to South Range. They are truly deserving of the number one seed.”
“They are playing all D1, D2 teams,” Matisi said of Central Catholic and their misleading 5-16 record heading into the game. “Teams from Cleveland and Akron, you know that just makes you a better team. We were lucky, we were lucky.”
Daniell Vuletich led the Raiders with 16 points in the game and hauled down 12 rebounds. Izzy Lamparty would also reach double digits with 10 points. Maddie Durkin would net 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Ashley Schott led the Crusaders with 14 points, while Erin Krupar netted 12. Krupar carried them on the boards with 12 caroms.
The Raiders will now face the fourth-seeded Brookfield Warriors on Wednesday night at 6:00 pm in a Division 3 semi-final contest. The contest will be a re-match as the Raiders beat the Warriors back on December 9th 55-43.