Bristol eliminates Mathews, 46-38

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Bristol’s Brenna Rimer, right, drives the lane against Mathews’ defender Ashley Deans on Saturday in the Panthers’ Division IV sectional victory.

BRISTOLVILLE — The Bristol Panthers advanced to the district semifinal round for the first time since 2013with a 46-38 sectional bracket final victory Saturday over the Mathews Mustangs.

With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Bristol fell behind, 36-34, after some bad luck, and key rebounds by Carlie Pratt and Katarina Schubert of Mathews. After a crucial timeout by Bristol coach John King, the Panthers went on a nine-point run, retaking the lead and claiming victory.

“We just concentrated on the things we can control,” King said. “Our effort, making regular rotations and to press. When we press, teams are gonna go on runs. We withstood their run, now it’s time to go on our own run, and we did very well handling that, with our girls being so young.”

The Mustangs were led by Pratt and Emily Strama, both with 12 points and four rebounds. Strama scored six points in the final quarter. Schubert led the team in rebounds with five.

“No one expected us to be here,” Mathews coach Aaron Pounds said. “They really worked hard to get here. When we started the season off, we lost by over 50 points a game. Nobody gave us a chance. My girls came in and they worked hard, and they put everything they had into it, fought all year, and we ended up finishing with a winning record and wound up in a sectional championship.”

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Bristol’s Kendyl Switzer tries to block the shot of Mathews’ Carlie Pratt during the Panthers’ sectional tournament win in Bristol on Saturday.

The Panthers were led by Kendyl Switzer who had a double-double on the afternoon, posting 18 points and 10 rebounds. Switzer was one of three players for the Panthers scoring in double digits. Freshman Brittany Mooney (12) and junior Brenna Rimer (13) also put up double-digit points, with four rebounds apiece. Bristol outrebounded the Mustangs 24-15 in the game, adding to the physical edge of the Panthers.

“We like to play tough, hard-nosed defense, and we’re pressing, real physical, and I think that benefits us a lot,” King said. “We’ve been the same, and we’ll stay the same. We’re gonna get good at what we do. We have a lot of youth and we’re trying to build something here. We’re nowhere near where I envision this team being, but we’re taking the right steps to get there.”

Bristol moves on to face Cuyahoga Heights in a Division IV district semifinal at Grand Valley High School. Cuyahoga Heights beat Warren JFK, 36-27, to advance to the district semifinals.