YORK — The Exeter-Milligan Timberwolves dug themselves a hole in the first half and spent most of the afternoon digging out in the first girls’ CRC semifinal at the York City Auditorium on Thursday.
The Timberwolves’ defense came to play in the second half as they forced 14 second half turnovers by Shelby-Rising City and hit just enough free throws down the stretch to pull of the upset of the No. 1 seed by the final score of 45-40.
With 5:37 to play in the game, Logan Zeleny hit two free throws for the T-Wolves to tie the game at 37-37 and the rest of the way to the final buzzer was bedlam.
The T-Wolves took their first lead of the game when Zeleny hit a short jumper to make it 39-37 with just under six minutes to play and kept their lead at two points at 41-39 after another Zeleny basket with 2:11 to play. Zeleny led all players with 21 points, while Erdkamp chipped in with 11.
The Huskies would pull to within 41-40 on a free throw by Jessica Nekl, but two gifters from Taylor Erdkamp made it 43-40 with 26. 4 seconds to play.
Turnovers over the final minute doomed the Huskies as they threw the ball away three times on three consecutive trips down the floor.
A free throw each from both Megan Zwickl and Jennifer Pribyl over the final 7.2 seconds secured the Timberwolves 13th win against four losses.
The Shelby-RC girls, 16-1 and rated as the No. 4 team in Class C-2, appeared to have things well in hand as they led by as many as 14 at 23-9 in the second quarter, but the Class D1 No. 8 Timberwolves refused to throw in the towel.
In the second quarter with seemingly everything going against them, Erdkamp canned three huge 3-point shots that pulled the T-Wolves within 31-20 at the break.
The Huskies, who were 13-26 from the field over the first two quarters, were just 3-19 in the second half. The Timberwolves hit 7-21 in the opening half and were 15-41 for the game, including 8-20 in the second half.
At the free throw line the Exeter-Milligan girls were 9-17, 7-11 in the fourth quarter. The Huskies finished 6-9 and committed 21 turnovers.
The Exeter-Milligan defense held 6-3 junior Chatrice White to just nine points and Danielle Shaf added seven.
The T-Wolves were charted with 12 turnovers, nine over the first two quarters.
Exeter-Milligan .............. 8 12 7 18—45
Shelby R-C ............. 16 15 4 5—40
E-M: L. Zeleny 21, A. Bigelow 2, Megan Zwickl 8, T. Erdkamp 11, J. Pribyl 3.
S-RC: C. White 9, K. Hopkins 6, D. Schaf 7, M. Schleis 3, K. Macken 4, K. Nickolite 4, M. Stewart 4, J. Nekl 3.