Falls’ season ends in triple OT

CUYAHOGA FALLS — With a packed crowd on Newton Falls’ side every step of the way, the Tigers girls kept climbing back.

At the end of the fourth quarter and the first two overtimes, Newton Falls was down, only to charge back and extend the game.

Eventually, the Tigers’ luck ran out as Newton Falls lost a triple-overtime heartbreaker to the Elyria Catholic Panthers Wednesday at Cuyahoga Falls High School in a Division III regional semfinal, 55-54.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud any team I’ve ever coached,” Newton Falls coach Mark Baker said. “I’ve had many athletes be state champions. I’ve been on state champion teams before, and I don’t think I’ve ever had more respect than I have for the kids that I had this season. Their effort, their heart, they played for each other. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

In her last game as a Tiger, Isabelle Kline pulled out every stop to try and secure the win.

Kline finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and three steals. Kline hit a last-second 3-pointer to send the game into the third overtime.

Between the three overtime periods Kline scored 11 of her 26 points.

“I just didn’t want to lose,” Kline said about her key 3-pointer to end the second overtime. “I’m more proud of my team than ever. We couldn’t be here without every single person on that team and that bench. It’s not a one-person show, it’s every person on the court, and I couldn’t have done it without any of them.”

Following up Kline on the score sheet for the Tigers was Allison Sembach (12) and Elizabeth Barreca (10). Sembach also came down with three rebounds. Bree Hutson was a key factor on both sides of the ball, scoring 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal.

The Panthers had three scorers in the double digits. Megan Scheibelhut scored 21 for the Panthers, leading the team. Faith Williams scored 15 and Ally Winnen scored 11.

Abby Winnen stuck to defense, recovering 10 rebounds and getting a block.

Elyria Catholic moves on to face Chippewa Saturday in a regional final, with the winner moving on to state. Earlier on Wednesday, Chippewa defeated South Range.

For the Tigers, the season may be over, but the strong tradition of Newton Falls basketball lives on through the legacy of the seniors, and Baker.

“You can’t replace four special seniors,” he said. “You just hope to carry them along with you. Hope what they started rubs off on the younger kids and they continue the tradition of Newton Falls girls basketball.”

“This is where I grew up,” Kline said. “I’m happy that we ended up in this game and I’m happy to be a Newton Falls Tiger.”