Saline Rallies Past Belleville for District Title


Photo provided by Saline Girls' Basketball

The Saline girls' basketball team overcome a slow start to rally past Belleville for a 47-42 overtime win to claim the Division 1 district title Saturday night.

The win improved the Hornets record to 21-3 overall and they advance to the D1 regional that they host Tuesday night against Salem at 7:00 PM.

Saline could not buy a basket in the opening quarter. The lone basket of the period for Saline came from Kate Stemmer as Belleville stormed to a 14-2 lead after one quarter.

Baskets started to fall in the second for Saline as they opened the quarter on a 10-3 run to cut the lead to 17-12. They scored the final four points of the quarter to cut the lead to 17-16 at the break.

The hot shooting continued for Saline in the third with a 10-2 run to take a 26-19 lead with a lay-in by Beth Ann Ford.

The Hornets continued to pour it on in the third and finished the quarter by outscoring the Tigers 20-9 for a 36-26 lead heading to the fourth.

Belleville answered with a 12-2 run to tie the game with 3:01 left.

The Tigers took the lead, but Saline answered with a Ford jumper to tie the game at 40 with 1:38 left.

Belleville tried to hold the ball for the last shot, but turned the ball over, but the Hornets could not get a shot off before the buzzer and the game went into overtime.

Taylor Kangas put Saline on top with a triple to open the overtime period, but Belleville would score a pair to cut the lead to 43-42.

Taylor Kangas sank four clutch free throws in the final minute of overtime to seal win for Saline. STN File Photo

It would stay a one-point game until the final minute when Kangas sank a pair of free throws to push the lead to 45-42 with 11 seconds left in overtime.

Saline had just four fouls at the time, so they committed a pair of fouls on Belleville inbounds plays to get the clock down to six seconds.

After a timeout, Belleville threw the inbounds pass away to give the ball to the Hornets. 

Kangas was fouled once again, and she calmly sank two more free throws to seal the win and district title for Saline.

Ford was huge for the Hornets Saturday night with a team-high 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds and two blocks. 

"She(Ford) did her normal damage at the defensive end but was a dominant force on offense," coach Leigh Ann Roehm said. "She wanted the ball and really helped us take advantage of our size advantage."

The Saline defense held Belleville to its second lowest scoring output of the season.

"I think the big story was our defensive effort. To hold a high scoring opponent like Belleville to 42 (with an extra 4 minutes in OT) says a lot about the way we defended as a team tonight," Roehm said. "We rotated in transition and in the half court and we ferocious on the glass."

The unselfish Hornets spread the ball around which has been a goal for Saline all season.

"At the beginning of the year, this team set 1 goal- they wanted to get more assists than any team in Saline history," Roehm said. "Tonight they met that goal with a total of 347 assists this season!! They care more about sharing the ball than anything!!"

Stemmer dished out five assists to go along with 10 points and six rebounds.

Kangas finished with nine points, including seven in the deciding overtime period. She added five assists, three steals, and three rebounds.

Keira Roehm added nine points and five rebounds, while Anna Hesse was a beast on the boards with 12 rebound and three blocks. Kadyn Maid chipped in with five points and Hadley Griffin two points. 

The Hornets reached the finals by making quick work of Ypsilanti 47-10 Wednesday night. 

Hesse had a big night with a team-high 10 points, six rebounds, and three blocks to lead Saline.

Roehm finished with eight points, five rebounds, and five assists, while Stemmer had six steals, five rebounds, and four points. Maida chipped in with five steals, four points, and four rebounds, Ford four points, Lindsey Clarke four points, Griffin three points and two boards, and Payton Maloney two points, two rebounds, and two assists. 

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