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AW’s Schofield Makes Sick Shot To Sink Panthers At Buzzer

Anthony Wayne players celebrate a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by sophomore Sam Schofield that gave the Generals a 36-33 win over Maumee last Friday. MIRROR PHOTOS BY KEVIN FINNIGAN

BY JOEL SENSENIG | MIRROR SPORTS — Talk about a sick shot. Anthony Wayne sophomore guard Sam Schofield had been out with the flu for a few days last week following the team’s holiday trip to Orlando. On the morning of a big league game with Maumee, Schofield wasn’t sure she’d be able to play, despite getting the go-ahead from the doctor that she wasn’t contagious. So she decided to sleep on it and took a five-hour power nap. Fast forward a few hours and she was ready to give it a go against the visiting Panthers. In the final second of the game, she hit a 3-pointer from the left side that gave the Generals a thrilling 36-33 Northern Lakes League win last Friday. “We had originally drawn up a play out of the timeout, but they came out with a different defense than we thought,” Schofield recalled of the final play. “It kind of fell apart a little bit, so we were just moving the ball and trying to get a good shot and the clock wound down and I just thought, ‘I might as well shoot it.’” Shoot it she did, quickly firing up a shot over the outstretched arms of freshman Maumee defender Brynn Brown. “At first I was scared. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this really has to go in,’”Schofield said. “When it went in, I was so happy and all my teammates came and jumped around.” Schofield scored 10 points coming off the bench instead of her usual starting role, providing an offensive spark with a couple buckets in the first stanza, a 3-pointer near the end of the first half and then the shot heard round the NLL world to walk away with the win. “I thought she played pretty well,” said AW coach Jeremy Terwilliger. “Obviously, you’re going to remember the shot at the end. She attacked the rim and did a lot of things we needed her to do, so I give her a lot of credit for fighting through that illness. “She didn’t make any excuses and came out and played. She had a lot more energy than I thought she was going to have.” Senior Alix Carter led the Generals offense with 11 points, all of which came in the second half, which started with AW up 22-19 after Schofield’s first trey to end the first half also put the home team up by three. Senior Lauren Johnson led the Panthers offense with 16 points, including four triples. Classmate Alissa Schneider added seven points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal. Sophomore Natalie Winkle led Maumee on the glass with five boards. “Johnson’s a good scorer,” Terwilliger said. “She finds ways to score and I give her a ton of credit, and Schneider is a good all-around player.” He admitted that the Panthers posed some problems for the Generals throughout the contest. “Maumee does some good things,” he said. “They packed it in on us and we didn’t shoot the ball very well, especially early. We didn’t do a very good job getting into gaps and being strong with the basketball. We were very stagnant offensively.” The visitors got off to a strong start, as Johnson and Schneider combined for nine of the team’s 11 points in the first quarter, which ended with Maumee owning an 11-7 advantage. AW junior Cailey Miller did a nice job on the boards early, pulling down five rebounds in the game’s first 6:00. Anthony Wayne junior Peyton Wallace began the second with a 3-pointer from the corner that bounced up and hit the goal’s support strap before making its way into the net. She then hit a bucket on a pass from senior Hannah Szul (three assists, four steals) to give the Generals a 12-11 lead. Minutes later, Schneider found Johnson for a three to give the Panthers a 16-14 advantage. A three-point play by AW senior Emily Brandeberry (four points), followed by Schofield’s first trey gave the Generals a 22-19 lead at the break. “We haven’t practiced much in the last two weeks and the trip was a wonderful thing, but you can tell we’re sloppy,” Terwilliger said. “You can see rust.” Carter heated up in the third, hitting three free throws and a 3-pointer to help keep AW in the lead. Her triple on a pass from senior Megan Guerrette gave the Generals a 30-24 lead with 1:35 remaining in the stanza. In the fourth, Maumee took a 31-30 lead when junior Brianna Zattau (four points) made a bucket, followed by another Johnson three. Carter scored three more points, while Zattau made a bucket to tie the score at 33 with 1:27 remaining. AW got the ball and called timeout with about 18 seconds remaining, setting up a play to try and finish off the pesky Panthers. Szul had the ball up top and twice passed it over to Carter. Maumee’s zone defense shifted, causing it to come back to Szul. She passed it once to Schofield on the left wing. The sophomore passed the ball back to Szul with about four ticks remaining. Szul took a dribble to her right before firing it back to Schofield, who had just enough open space to fire up the shot with one second remaining. The buzzer sounded just before the ball found the net, prompting a horde of Generals teammates to run out and greet their teammate, who wasn’t sure she was going to play that day. “I slept for a solid five hours,” Schofield said. “My fever was gone, so I was like, ‘I might as well show up.” Her teammates would undoubtedly agree that was a good decision. Junior Varsity Sophomore Hannah Rybicki led the AW junior varsity squad to a 35-12 win over visiting Maumee on January 5. Classmate Jocelyn Crossley and freshman Kelsey Ragan added six and four points, respectively. Sophomore Chloe Bunce led Maumee with five points, while freshman Kelsey Walborn added four. “I am extremely happy with how hard we played and how physical we were,” said AW coach Nicole Nirschl. “I thought we started to execute more in our transition and we forced several turnovers when pressing. “We need to work on decision making and staying focused to what our game plan is. Making our foul shots is also key, especially at the end of games when we are the most tired.” Ragan paced the Generals offense with 11 points in a 44-26 win over Defiance the following day. Nirschl was again pleased with her team’s performance in the road outing. “It was good to see the girls come out with so much energy and intensity, especially playing back to back,” she said. “All of that energy put us in a position (to win) from the start.” Anthony Wayne saved its best play for the end, scoring 16 points in the final quarter. Freshmen The AW frosh topped Maumee, 32-25. Hannah Pfundt tallied nine points and five boards and Jada Spencer (three rebounds) scored eight points, for the Generals, who never trailed in the game. Maumee had perhaps its best game of the season, led by Lexi Szyndler (seven points, three rebounds) and Kelsey Walborn (six points, two boards). Anthony Wayne jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first stanza and increased the lead slightly to five points at the half, 13-8. Szyndler scored all five of her points (including a trey) in the second. Kayla Crandall, Shelby Myers and Spencer each scored a bucket for the Generals in the quarter. The home team increased its lead to 10 in the third as Pfundt netted four points and Spencer and Haley Boyer each scored two. The Panthers made a game out of it in the fourth, as NaSiah Copeland converted a three-point play followed by a bucket from Walborn, making the score 22-17. Anthony Wayne pushed the lead back up to nine points on buckets from Spencer and Pfundt, and the Generals didn’t look back. The next afternoon, the frosh went to Defiance, where they defeated the Bulldogs, 37-14. Spencer led the way with nine points, while Kayla Crandall and Izzy Serra both tallied eight. Pfundt (six), Shelby Myers (four) and Chloe Carpenter (two) also helped the Generals on the scoreboard. “I was happy to see the girls push the ball in transition as well as they did today,” said AW coach Andrea Pontsler. “They looked up the floor, ran their lanes and made smart decisions.” Pontsler said the team will continue to work on finishing chances. “We are getting great looks within our sets and transition offense,” she said. “However, as we spoke about in the locker room, we need to focus on the fundamentals to be able to finish our offensive possessions.”

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