‘Like a repeat of last year’: Game-ending 9-0 run lifts Badin to girls basketball district final

Badin’s Jada Pohlen scored a team-high 14 points Monday night in the Rams' win over Fenwick in the Division II district semifnals. FILE PHOTO
Badin’s Jada Pohlen scored a team-high 14 points Monday night in the Rams' win over Fenwick in the Division II district semifnals. FILE PHOTO

Rams advance to Division II district finals

Fenwick, of all teams, should have known no lead was safe against rival Badin, especially in a postseason high school girls basketball game.

The Rams were playing catchup for most of the night but rallied with a 9-0 run over the final two minutes to beat their Greater Catholic League Co-Ed foes 39-36 on Monday in a Division II district semifinal at Middletown’s Wade E. Miller Arena.

For Fenwick (14-11), it was a disappointing deja’ vu of last year when Badin came back to beat the Falcons one round earlier. Once again, Badin (16-9) moves on instead, this time advancing to a district final for the first time since 2017 and the first time in Division II since 2004.

ExploreMason mauls Lakota West

“I guess it was just kind of like a repeat of last year,” Badin junior Jada Pohlen said. “We don’t give up, we have heart. We had to dig in and we just wanted it more in the end I guess. ... I haven’t been to the district finals since I’ve been at Badin so it feels pretty good.”

The Falcons seemed to established control in the second quarter with the help of an 8-2 run that gave them a 25-19 advantage going into halftime, and the game appeared in hand when Emily Adams made a jump shot to put Fenwick up 36-30 with 2:39 left. At that point, Badin had gone four minutes without a bucket.

A pair of free throws from Mahya Lindesmith ended the Rams’ drought moments later, and suddenly a flurry of activity put them right back in the hunt -- with the help of some solid defense. Pohlen made it a two-point game with 50 seconds left, Fenwick turned it over on the in-bound play against a smothering press with Erin Beeber picking up the steal, and Lindesmith immediately scored to tie the game.

“The girls didn’t quit,” Badin coach Tom Sunderman said. “The last film I watched today before I left was our game last year against them. I told the girls this is almost the exact minute when I called a timeout -- I said it was 4-something to go in the game last year and we were down 29-22 and came back to win. We’ve got to believe to repeat what we did last year and just play it possession by possession.”

That’s where it unraveled for Fenwick.

After the tying bucket dropped for Badin, Adams retrieved the ball and threw it down on the court in frustration so hard it bounced back over her head, costing her team a technical foul. Lizzy Meyer stepped up to the line by herself in a pressure situation and made both free throws and with Badin getting possession back on the in-bound, Adams was forced to foul for the fifth time to stop the clock, removing Fenwick’s only second-half scorer from the game with 28.3 seconds left.

Meyer made the second of her two free throws in a double bonus situation, and the Falcons’ final shot after a timeout at the 16-second mark bounced off the rim and into Badin’s possession to essentially end the game.

“Stupid fouls, a technical foul, turned the ball over – we had some calls that didn’t go our way, and we just couldn’t get over it,” Fenwick coach Scott Dalton said. “The technical hurt us, charge call hurt us, but that’s the way the game of basketball is.”

“It’s high school,” Dalton added. “Kids are going to make mistakes. We’re not going to point fingers. We’ll just get back after it next year and try to learn from this game. We’re going to miss Emily tremendously and Rachel (Tebbe), but we’ve got a lot of underclassmen, so that’s going to help us.”

Adams, who will play for the Air Force Academy next year, led all scorers with 24 points and completed the double-double with 12 rebounds, while Pohlen paced the Rams with 14 points and Beeber had 11, including nine in a back-and-forth early portion of the second quarter.

The Rams have now won nine of their last 10 and prepare to face GCLC champion Roger Bacon – the only team to beat them in that stretch – in the district final Saturday at Mason.

“It used to be a bad season if we didn’t get to districts,” Sunderman said. “Now, that we’re in D-2, we’re just hoping to get there. It’s got to get back to being an every year thing and that’s got to be the goal at minimum.”

In Other News