No buzzer beater needed: Morgan Dziak's six 3-pointers lead Amherst Comets past Lorain Titans

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Lorain’s Alex Harris, center, gets fouled by Amherst’s Brianna Shagovac, right, in the first quarter of a Division I Elyria sectional final on Wednesday night. On the left is Amherst’s Mallory Sliman.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Lorain's Onyx Lopez, top, fights for a loose ball with Amherst's Hannah Brosky during Wednesday night's game.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Amherst’s Morgan Dziak, left, fouls Lorain’s Ashley Malone in the first quarter of a Division I Elyria sectional final on Wednesday night.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Lorain's Angelique Flores, left, goes up for two points over Amherst's Sheridan Champe in the first quarter Wednesday night.

ELYRIA — When Amherst needed it, its seniors came through.

Morgan Dziak hit six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points, while fellow senior Sydney Failing added 18 to help the Comets hold off a late Lorain rally, en route to a 47-38 Division I Elyria District sectional final win.

“This was a hard-fought game with girls from both teams competing hard,” Amherst head coach John Rositano said. “We made some big shots to loosen them up on defensibly. Once we got the lead; we used it to our advantage.

“Our seniors are playing like seniors. When they are playing like that during tournament time, you are going to win some games.”

What appeared to be a match-up between Lorain’s (15-9) Alex Harris and Amherst’s (18-5) Brooke Wallace turned into a one-sided show in the first half. Wallace picked up her second foul early in the first quarter. Harris, who had six points in the first quarter, led the Titans to a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Comets’ duo of Dziak and Failing came to life in the second quarter. Dziak scored eight points in the quarter, while Failing added six. Amherst’s defense also came to life, holding Lorain to just three free throws in the quarter.

Dziak capped off a 17-1 run with an off-balanced 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Amherst a 31-19 lead at the half.

“I just threw it up there,” Dziak said. “I really didn’t have a shot. I was lucky it went it. It was pretty exciting because it happened just before the half.”

Besides Wallace battling foul trouble, senior point guard Brianna Shagovac picked up her third foul with over four minutes left in the half. Freshman Sara Elliott came in and played well in place of Shagovac.

Though the deficit seemed daunting, the Titans relied on Harris to get them back into the game. The 6-foot-3 Penn State commit scored six points in the quarter and finished with 18. Besides her scoring and rebounding (eight), Harris helped run the offense and sometimes brought the ball up.

Her short jumper in the lane pulled Lorain to within 35-31 with seven minutes left in regulation.

“(Harris) does so many things for us,” Lorain head coach Mark Feldmann said. “It isn’t about her scoring or rebounding or blocks, she does five or six things. It’s really hard to see her go. She played a tremendous game.”

Just as it appeared the Titans were on the verge of getting over the hump, Dziak drilled back-to-back 3s to extend Amherst’s lead to 41-33.

With smart ball-handling, the Comets forced Lorain to foul. Failing, who made 8 of 10 free throws, hit five in the waning minutes for the final outcome.

“We knew we had to buckle down on defense when they cut the lead to four,” Dziak said. “Once we got a few more points on the board, we felt better. But still knew we had to keep playing hard.”

Though the loss was disappointing, Feldmann was happy with the way his team battled. Graduating only two players, the future is bright for Lorain

“We played pretty good defense,” Feldmann said. “We are offensively-challenged, but our depth is also an issue too. We have a lot of girls coming back. They need to put the work in over the summer and improve.”

Using 10 players, Rositano was quick to point out this was a team win.

“Everyone contributed,” Rositano said. “Or freshmen came in and gave us four big minutes; our bench gave us solid defensive play. This was a good team win.”

Amherst will play Elyria next Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Amherst 47, Lorain 38

Division I Elyria District

Sectional Final

LORAIN — Alex Harris 8-2 18, Gretchen Conibear 2-0 6, Angelique Flores 2-1 6, Ashley Malone 2-0 4, Onyx Lopez 2-0 4. TOTALS 16-3 28.

AMHERST — Morgan Dziak 7-0 20, Sydney Failing 4-8 18, Sher Champe 1-0 2, Brooke Wallace 1-2 4, Megan Salisbury 0-1 1, Sara Elliott 0-2 2. TOTALS 13-13 47.

3-POINT GOALS — L: Conibear (2), Flores; A: Dziak (6), Failing (2).

Score By Quarters

Lorain (15-9) 16 13 10 9 — 37

Amherst (18-5) 13 18 4 11 — 47

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Lorain 16 of 54 (29 percent), Amherst 13 of 36 (36 percent).

Free Throws — L 3 of 6 (50 percent), A 13 of 16 (81 percent).

Rebounds — L 42, A 23.

Turnovers — L 14, A 11.


Last Updated: 2/20/2013 11:34:05 PM EST

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