WELLSVILLE - Anna Hardenbrook's two foul shots with just 15 seconds remaining was the difference as the Crestview Rebels defeated the Wellsville Tigers 48-46 Wednesday night in a Division IV sectional opener at Wellsville High School.
Trailing throughout the game, Wellsville took their only lead of the night, at 45-43, when Sabrina Thompson drained a three-pointer with 2:02 left in the game.
Getting the ball back after a Crestview miss, the Tigers ran the clock down before the Rebels' Tristin Huff came up with a steal and headed back down the floor. Following a missed Rebel shot and subsequent held ball, Crestview recaptured the lead when Emily Ferris hit a three-pointer from the left wing following a Wellsville timeout.
"Tristin Huff's steal was huge," said Crestview head coach Rick Gates. "Coming out of the timeout, we were looking at Anna going low, and Emily coming off of a double screen for the three-pointer."
Ashley Bennett, who led Wellsville with 14 points, hit the front end of a two-shot foul, knotting the game at 46-all. On the missed second shot, Hardenbrook was fouled, setting up her heroics.
Wellsville had one more chance to tie. Their final possession resulted in a good look at the basket, but the shot rimmed out.
"We got the look we wanted," said Wellsville head coach Ed Swogger. "It just didn't go down."
Possessing a record of 12-11, Crestview will host Lisbon at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the sectional final.
Hardenbook topped all scorers with 21 points and also pulled down 11 rebounds. She was supported by Huff with 10, Emilee Chlebus eight and Ferris seven. Chlebus pulled down 10 missed shots.
Following Bennett on the Tigers' scoring chart were Brittany Clendennning and Shartece Taylor with nine each, Sabrina Thompson eight and Kallee Powell six.
The Rebels jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead as Hardenbrook netted six and Chlebus and Huff four each. Crestview led 20-4 at the end of the first quarter, with Clendenning collecting all four of Wellsville's points.
"We came out of the gate and played a great first quarter," said Gates. "They were cold from the floor and we got the ball in the right spots."
Moving at a brisk pace in the second quarter, the Tigers started to find the basket with more regularity in the second frame, as Taylor tallied five and Thompson and Bennett four each. Taylor's three-pointer just before the buzzer, pulled Wellsville to within 10 at intermission.
"Right before the half, we started to turn the ball over," Gates said. "Give Wellsville credit. They kept playing hard and worked themselves back into the game."
Applying pressure, the Tigers forced Crestview into a string of turnovers, which enabled Wellsville to trim the Rebel's lead to 34-29 on a Bennett putback with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter. Another basket by Bennett and one by Taylor left the Rebels with a one-point lead, 34-33, with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
"The first quarter did us in," said Swogger. "I think we had first-quarter jitters. Our team played with tremendous effort. "Crestview has a nice club. We executed well for three quarters, just not the first."
Hardenbrook, who was working the boards hard, drove for a hoop and Ferris drilled a three-pointer from the right wing, giving the Rebs' a 39-33 lead after three quarters.
The fourth quarter quickly heated up as Bennett hit a three-point play to trim Crestview's lead to one, 41-40 with 3:28 left in the game. Alexis Gates fed Hardenbrook to push the Rebels' lead to 43-40. Bennett drained a turnaround shot in the lane for the Tigers, pulling them to within 43-42.
Reflecting back on a 14-9 season, Swogger said, "This Wellsville team won the most games since 2000 and incurred the fewest losses since 2003. I am very proud and pleased with the effort of our team."
CRESTVIEW SCORING: Emilee Chlebus 3-2-8, Anna Hardenbrook 8-5-21, Tristin Huff 5-0-10, Alexis Gates 0-0-0, Emily Ferris 2-1-7, Dana Drinnon 0-0-0, Sydni Bowker 0-0-0, Hope Halas 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 19, 8-12: 48.
WELLVILLE SCORING: Brittany Clendenning 4-1-9, Shartece Taylor 4-0-9, Kallee Powell 3-0-6, Ashley Bennett 6-2-14, Kira Kelley 0-0-0, Destiny Crow 0-0-0, Sabrina Thompson 3-1-8. TEAM TOTALS: 20, 4-11: 46.
Three-point goals: Crestview 2 (Ferris), Wellsville 2 (Taylor, Thompson).