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A second straight upset win in the ACAC basketball tournament just wasn't in the cards Thursday night for the Adams Central girls as the Taylor Seiss-Keanna Gray led Leo Lions hammered the Jets 59-26 in the semi-final round at the beautiful Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The Jets advanced to the semis after surprising Woodlan Tuesday night and played a tough first period trailing just 18-14 at the buzzer. They even enjoyed several early leads with Olivia Macklin opening the game with a three-point shot and with 6:32 to play Bess Fiechter gave the Jets another three-point edge at 5-2 with a bucket.
But the Jets just didn't have an answer for the taller and quicker Lions and despite a strong AC defensive effort that made Leo work for the points they had, Seiss and Gray wore the Jets down with an outside-inside game that saw both players tally 19 points.
On many occasions in the first half, it would take three or four shots at the hoop by Leo to score as they were very dominant on the offensive glass. The Jets didn't have an answer for Gray, a 6'1 center who finished the game hitting 9-13 from the field, with many of them coming within a short distance of the basket. Seiss added three treys, including back-to-back three-balls in the second period which stretched the Leo advantage to 30-16.
"We didn't come in here tonight just satisfied to be playing here at the Coliseum," said AC coach Sam Beer, adding "they just executed a lot better than we did. We knew we were going to have to play our very best game of the year if we were going to have a shot at them."
And unfortunately for the Jet girls, that "very best" didn't occur, especially in the final three periods of the game.
Putting in bluntly, the Jets scored more points in the first period than they did for the final 24 minutes of the game as the lid was tightly closed on their basket. As a team, the Jets made just 4-38 shots in periods two, three, and four (10.5 percent) and for the game hit a paltry 18 percent on 9-50.
Neither team got to the line often with the Jets knocking down 5-8 and the Lions 4-6. Leo hit over 50 percent from two-point range on 23-43 but their 3-12 from behind the arc brought their shooting percentage down to 47.2 percent (in contrast to the AC shooting in the last three periods, Leo was over 51 percent on 18-35 after AC held Leo to 8-19 in the first period).
"Shooting has been our nemesis all year long. If that had not have been the case, I might be able to make the excuse of playing on a bigger floor (the Coliseum floor is about 15 feet longer than a regular high school floor), or the excitement of playing at the Coliseum or some other thing. But that's the way we've shot all year," Beer lamented.
"I thought that second period was a key. It seemed like we stood around too much unlike the first period when we played well. Leo was really able to stretch the lead out and take control of the game at that point," he said.
In the final period, Adams Central had a play that was "sort of a snapshot of the game" according to Beer.
The defense had made a nice steal and a streaking player to the basket drove in for what appeared to be was going to be an easy lay-up. She missed. That miss was one of 16 in the period for Adams Central as they finished the last period going 1-17.