Sailing away: AuBree LaForce scores a game-high 32, but Vermilion Sailors fall to Holy Name Green Wave

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Vermilion's AuBree LaForce, right, drives to the basket during the fourth quarter of the Division II Elyria District final Saturday against Holy Name at Elyria High School in Elyria. LaForce scored a game-high 32 points, but the Sailors lost 52-45.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Vermilion's Andrea Dillon shoots a jump shot during the first quarter of the Division II Elyria District final Saturday against Holy Name at Elyria High School in Elyria.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Holy Name's Rachel Kucharczyk looks to make a pass during the third quarter of the Division II Elyria District final Saturday against Holy Name at Elyria High School in Elyria.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Holy Name celebrates on the court as the final buzzer sounds of the Division II Elyria District final Saturday against Holy Name at Elyria High School in Elyria.

ELYRIA — While the ending wasn’t storybook for Vermilion, the ride was well-worth it.

Behind senior guard AuBree Laforce’s game-high 32 points, the Sailors gave Holy Name everything they could handle. However, The Green Wave managed to stave off every run Vermilion made for a 52-45 Division II Elyria District Final win Saturday. The Sailors, who came in as the fifth seed, end the season at 14-11.

“We had our shots,” Vermilion coach Colin Irish said. “We didn’t play our greatest, but I’m so proud of these girls and how far we have come as a team. I’m extremely proud of our seniors who have passed the torch to the juniors and hopefully we can build on this.”

Holy Name (17-9) used its size advantage to overcome an early deficit and hold an 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. LaForce have five points in the quarter, but it only proved to be a foreshadowing of things to come.

Almost every time the Green Wave appeared on the verge of breaking things open, LaForce and the Sailors mounted a comeback. In the second quarter, Holy Name built a 17-12 lead only to see LaForce score five straight points to tie things up.

Late in the third quarter, Holy Name built a 38-29 lead only to see LaForce hit a layup and back-to-back 3s — one with two seconds left on the clock to narrow the deficit down to 41-37.

“I knew she (LaForce) was going to have a bust-out game,” Irish said. “I saw it in her face before the game, I told her to step up and she did — big time.”

Unfortunately, Vermilion’s offense struggled when LaForce wasn’t taking the shots. They went scoreless for almost four minutes which allowed Holy Name to open up a 47-39 lead. But, the all-time scoring leader for the Sailors wasn’t done.

Using her five-foot, two-inch frame, she showed no fear in driving down the heart of the lane for a layup. She buried her fourth 3 of the game to narrow the deficit down to five 49-44 with less than two minutes in regulation. The 3 turned out to be her last field goal in her stellar career. She finished the game going 12 of 20 from the field.

“Every time they got an extended lead, we knew we had to step up and not let it get out of hand.” LaForce said.

Knocking down three free throws down the stretch, the Green Wave held off the Sailors’ last run and sealed the district championship.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” LaForce said. “We knew they had a size advantage and focused on our defense. I wish the outcome was different. We played as hard as we could. I think we put out an awesome effort.”

The size advantage did hurt Vermilion down on the blocks. Erica Davis and Kim Cook each had 12 points. Davis was hard to stop on the glass, snagging 13 rebounds. The free throws didn’t help either with the Green Wave shooting 28 times and knocking down 19 of them.

From losing last season in the first round of the tournament by 41 points to reaching the district finals this season, Vermilion is on its way to establishing itself.

“It was my goal to reach regionals,” LaForce said. “I said since my freshman year when Hannah (Bartlome) is a junior, and I’m a senior; we could really make something special happen. This tournament run proves our hard work paid off. We made it this far though no one thought we could. It really means a lot.”

Division II Elyria District Final

HOLY NAME — Emily Davis 2-0 4, Toni Dickson 0-1 1, Rachel Kucharczyk 4-3 14, Kim Cook 4-4 12, Erica Davis 3-6 12, Sammie Day 1-2 4, Meghan Adams 1-3 5. TOTALS 15-19 52.

VERMILION — AuBree LaForce 12-4 32, Hannah Bartlome 0-4 4, Andrea Dillon 1-3 5, Ali Kowal 2-0 4. TOTALS 15-11 45.

3-POINT GOALS — HN: Kucharczyk (3), V: LaForce (4)

Score By Quarters

Holy Name (17-9) 11 16 14 11 — 52

Vermilion (14-11) 10 11 16 8 — 45

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Holy Name 15 of 37 (41 percent), Vermilion 15 of 45 (33 percent).

Free Throws — HN 19 of 28 (68 percent), V 11 of 19 (58 percent).

Rebounds — HN 28, V 31.

Turnovers –—HN 12, V 14.

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 3/2/2013 11:55:28 PM EST

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