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'Survive and advance': No. 1 Ethan denies Waverly-South Shore upset bid

HURON--Sometimes, the first one is the hardest. State B tournament mainstay Ethan shook off some early nerves and pulled away from No. 8 seed Waverly-South Shore 52-40 in the opening round of the State B girls basketball tournament on Thursday at...

Ethan's Jessica Bartscher, right, looks for an open teammate as Waverly-South Shore's Ali Kranz on Thursday during the Class B state girls basketball tournament at the Huron Arena. (Ryan Deal / Republic)
Ethan's Jessica Bartscher, right, looks for an open teammate as Waverly-South Shore's Ali Kranz on Thursday during the Class B state girls basketball tournament at the Huron Arena. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

HURON-Sometimes, the first one is the hardest.

State B tournament mainstay Ethan shook off some early nerves and pulled away from No. 8 seed Waverly-South Shore 52-40 in the opening round of the State B girls basketball tournament on Thursday at the Huron Arena.

"It's kind of like the old saying: survive and advance," Ethan coach Tom Young said. "That's kind of what we've done tonight."

Up next, the No. 1-seeded Rustlers (23-0) will play No. 5 seed Freeman (20-4) at 6 p.m. on Friday in the championship semifinals.

On Thursday, the Rustlers were making their fifth straight tourney appearance. However, it didn't appear so early on. Ethan committed 11 uncharacteristic turnovers in the first half and Waverly-South Shore made an emphasis to utilize post players Emily Kranz (6-foot-2) and Ali Kranz (5-foot-11).

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"They were really trying to get inside," Ethan senior post Karly Gustafson said. "So we had to step up our defense on the inside game."

The Rustlers pulled away from a 26-20 halftime advantage with a 15-8 third quarter and their lead later stretched to 20 points. Gustafson finished with 16 points, nine boards and five steals. Jessica Bartscher tossed in 12 points, with all of them coming from the 3-point line. Bartscher's 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer gave Ethan a 41-28 cushion.

"I thought I needed to step up a little bit," Bartscher said about her 3-pointers. "We had kind of a rough first half. So I was like, 'I just needed to step it up and just hit these.' "

The Rustlers finished with seven total made 3-pointers, which also helped take some pressure off Gustafson in the paint.

"They were big threes," Gustafson said. "So it was just nice to see (Bartscher) step up and have everyone else step up, too."

Cameryn Logan tossed in 11 points for the Rustlers, who were also outrebounded by a 24-16 margin. Erin Comes finished with nine points, while Emily Kranz and Ali Kranz boh scored eight points apiece.

"You have to give them credit," Young said. "They came out and played good defense. They have got some nice inside players. It was hard for us to get to the rim and they had us off balanced and once we gathered our composure the second half and played a little better defense, it paid off."

Now, the Rustlers will shift their attention to the Flyers. Ethan defeated 50-31 on Feb. 12.

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Ethan 52, Waverly-South Shore 40

Waverly-South Shore (15-8): Emily Kranz 3-7 2-4 8, Erin Comes 4-7 0-0 9, Payton Comes 2-5 0-0 4, Bailey Richter 2-2 0-0 6, Lydia Schroeder 1-1 0-0 2, Carly Heuer 1-6 0-1 3. Totals 17-36 2-5 40.

Ethan (23-0): Karly Gustafson 7-14 2-3 16, Cameryn Logan 4-6 2-2 11, Jessica Bartscher 4-8 0-0 12, Maddie Miiller 2-6 0-0 6, Mollie Miiller 1-1 0-0 2, Adaya Plastow 1-1 0-0 2, Callie Hohn 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 20-38 5-7 52.

WSS 7 20 28 40

E 11 26 41 52

3-pointers: WSS 4-11 (E. Comes 1-1, Richter 2-2, Heuer 1-6); E 7-13 (Logan 1-1, Bartscher 4-7, Mad. Miiller 2-3). Rebounds: WSS 24 (E. Kranz 7); E 16 (Gustafson 9). Steals: WSS 10 (E. Comes 4); E 13 (Gustafson 5). Blocked shots: WSS 1 (E. Kranz 1); E 1 (Gustafson 1). Turnovers: WSS 23; E 16. Total fouls: WSS 12; E 11.

Related Topics: ETHANGIRLS BASKETBALL
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