Rada, Neumann beat Scotus at the buzzer
COLUMBUS — Everybody at Dowd Activity Center on Thursday night knew Wahoo Neumann would turn to Aspen Jansa with five seconds left in a tie game.
Scotus Central Catholic tried to mix up its defense, but the ball still found its way into the hands of the 5-foot-7 all-state player.
She dribbled right and drove into the chest of Scotus’ Grace Odbert, sending both players tumbling to the ground.
The ball trickled over to Neumann’s Jessina Rada, who fired the game-winning 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the fifth-ranked Cavaliers a 43-40 victory over No. 10 Scotus.
“The ball rolled in their direction this time and the girl stepped up and made a huge play for her team,” Scotus head coach Jarrod Ridder said.
For most of the second half, it didn’t look like the Shamrocks (7-3) would have a shot in the game.
Neumann (8-2) scored the first seven points of the second half to cap a 28-8 run spanning three quarters and open a 29-19 lead. The Cavaliers still led 36-27 entering the final quarter.
Scotus went on a 6-0 run, sparked by four points from Bailey Lehr, to start the fourth quarter and cut Neumann’s lead to three.
The Cavaliers took a 40-35 advantage into the final minute before Grace Wickham came up with a steal and layup to make it a one-possession game again. After a missed free throw by Neumann, Kendra Wiese knocked down a 3-pointer to knot the game at 40-all, the first time the Shamrocks drew even with the Cavaliers since it was 11-11 in the second quarter. It was Wiese’s only made field goal of the game.
Rada ended the game with her buzzer-beater.
“We could’ve hung our heads and felt sorry for ourselves. Instead, we just kept playing, kept grinding, and came back,” Ridder said. “That’s all you can ask for, to have a chance to win the game at the end.”
Rada finished with 11 points for Neumann, while Jansa scored a game-high 16 points and knocked down four treys.
Wickham led Scotus with 11 points, hitting three shots from beyond the arc.
The Shamrocks started the game on fire. They forced turnovers on Neumann’s first three possessions and jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead on a layup from Maggie Feehan and Wickham’s first trey of the game.
Marika Spencer scored the next six Shamrock points as Scotus led 11-1. Neumann’s first point came 4 1/2 minutes into the game. The Cavaliers didn’t have a made field goal until Jansa knocked down a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the opening quarter, making it an 11-4 game.
The second quarter was all Neumann as the Cavaliers’ swarming defense forced Scotus into 20 turnovers for the game.
“They love to play with pace, and when you turn the ball over, that doesn’t allow our defense to get set,” Ridder said. “They do a great job of taking turnovers and turning them into points.”
The Cavaliers outscored Scotus 18-8 in the second quarter to take a 22-19 lead at halftime.
After the quick start, Ridder saw his team’s mindset change, which led to the comeback.
“We just got aggressive offensively and didn’t turn the ball over,” he said. “We had some turnovers, but they just stuck with it. They kept competing and got themselves back in the game. I give our kids a lot of credit for that.”
The Shamrocks are back on the court Tuesday at Norfolk Catholic.