Norwalk Reflector: Bellevue handles Columbian for Willard rematch
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Bellevue handles Columbian for Willard rematch

By BRIAN KOLLARS • Updated Mar 1, 2019 at 12:26 AM

GALION — Tiffin Columbian tried to slow down Bellevue by using a triangle-and-2 defense, paying extra attention to star guard Casey Santoro and steady senior Payton Vogel. That left other players open, and they connected.

Sophomore Cory Santoro scored 20 points and senior Riley Mohr came off the bench to score 14 — hitting four of five 3-pointers — to lead the Lady Red to a 63-38 district semifinal win Thursday night.

“I need to take the open shot. If other people’s shots aren’t falling I have to do my job,” Mohr said “It’s not always my job to lead in points. Maybe it’s to rebound or play defense, but when it’s my time to score I have to step up.”

Bellevue coach Kory Santoro likes that way of thinking.

“She was wide open and I’m OK with that because I see it every day in practice,” Coach Santoro said. “They chose to take Casey and Payton out of the game and leave Cory and Gabby (Turner) and Riley open. They’re big-time shooters. We’ll take that every game if people do that.”

Casey Santoro finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Turner added 10 points for the Lady Red, who improved to 22-2. Bellevue with play for a district championship Saturday night.

“Casey scored 40 points on us the first time (this season),” Columbian coach Erin Reed said about using a triangle-and-2 defense. “We thought if we could lessen some of those things that happened to us in the past in would give us a better shot.

“I think that worked; we were down 10 in the third quarter.”

Bellevue led 27-13 at halftime but the Tornadoes (15-9) responded in the third quarter, scoring six straight points to pull to within 29-19. Bellevue answered with a 12-0 run to take a 41-19 lead on Mohr’s offensive rebound and putback.

Bellevue, which defeated Columbian by 32 points in each of two regular-season meetings, forced 24 Columbian turnovers, 15 in the first half.

“We had a lot of unforced turnovers. It wasn’t like we were trapped somewhere and then we lost the ball,” Columbian coach Erin Reed said. “We didn’t catch a few passes that we should have, and threw some out of bounds, which I don’t think we’ve ever done this year.”

Sophomore guard Kaia Woods led Columbian with 13 points, 10 coming in the second half. Abby Dryfuse and Hailey Cooper added nine each. The Tornadoes, who shot 23 3-pointers, outrebounded the Lady Red 45-32.

Bellevue led 49-26 when Casey Santoro hit a jumper just before the third-quarter buzzer. After Columbian scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter, Bellevue extended its lead in a run that included 3-pointers from Mohr and Turner.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet,” Coach Santoro said. “That may sound kind of weird, but we haven’t played a complete game.”

BELLEVUE (22-2)

Cory Santoro 8-2—20, Gabby Turner 4-0—10, Payton Vogel 2-4—8, Casey Santoro 4-2—11, Riley Mohr 5-0—14. TOTALS 23-8—63.

COLUMBIAN (15-9)

Kaia Woods 6-0—13, Serena Ingalls 1-0—2, Hannah Cooper 0 2—2, Abby Dryfuse 4-1—9, Mia Ingalls 1-0—3. TOTALS 15-2—38.

Bellevue 13 14 22 14 — 63

Columbian 8 5 13 12 — 38

3-point FGs: (B) Cory Santoro 2, Turner 2, Casey Santoro, Mohr 4; (TC) Woods, Hailey Cooper 3, M. Ingalls 1)

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