Fourth quarter dooms Delta

Sunday, March 15, 2009
Delta's Jodi Menz tosses up a shot against Bakersfield during the first quarter of their Class 1 state quarterfinal.

POPLAR BLUFF -- Delta coach Mark Verticchio described his team's fourth quarter as one that will live with his players for the rest of their lives.

Delta held a 13-point lead late in the third quarter and led by nine points entering the fourth against Bakersfield on Saturday. But Bakersfield dominated the final period.

"I think the biggest thing if you ask me what happened is that we got up 13 and we thought the game was over," Verticchio said. "We quit doing the little things that got us a 13-point lead. We made several bad turnovers."

Bakersfield outscored Delta 20-7 in the fourth to post a 56-52 come-from-behind victory in a Class 1 girls basketball quarterfinal contest at Three Rivers Community College.

Delta (21-6), which finished second in Class 1 last season, was eliminated from the playoffs, while Bakersfield (20-8) advanced to the state final four in Columbia.

Delta's Taylor Smith pulls her jersey over her face as her team loses to Bakersfield 56-52 in a Class 1 quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.

"We threw the ball away and we took some bad shots," Verticchio said about the fourth.

Bakersfield trailed 45-36 heading into the final period.

"You can't stop us," Delta fans chanted with their team leading by eight points early in the fourth.

But that was just about the time that Bakersfield finally began to solve the Bobcats, who had outscored the Lions by a combined 33-17 in the second and third quarters.

The Lions put together a 9-0 run to take a 48-47 lead with 3 minutes, 29 seconds left.

Delta's Taylor Smith goes up for a shot against Bakersfield's Shelby Belt during the fourth quarter of their Class 1 quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.

Delta was able to put a stop to the run by scoring a basket that put it back up 49-48. But Bakersfield struck right back when Brooke Lair drilled a 3-pointer with 2:48 left. Lair's basket put the Lions ahead 51-49.

Lair scored two of her team's three fourth-quarter 3-pointers.

"We tried to work the ball inside and then that brings the defense in," Lair said. "And that leaves us wide open out in the outside."

The Lions converted seven 3-pointers in the contest.

"We didn't close out on their shooters," Verticchio said.

Delta's Amanda Rozmirsky looks to pass as Bakersfield's Emma French defends during the third quarter.

After Bakersfield regained the lead, it never relinquished it.

Lair made a steal with 2:31 remaining and ran the clock down to a minute. Delta got the ball back with exactly one minute left, but Sam Bartels traveled on the Bobcats' possession.

Bakersfield's Martika Wages got to the free-throw line and sank both her attempts to put her team up 53-49 with 48 seconds left.

Delta's Taylor Smith missed a layup 10 seconds later. Bakersfield rebounded and went ahead 54-49 when Emma French converted 1 of 2 free throws. French also scored a layup that sealed the game, putting her Lions ahead 56-51 with 10 seconds left.

"In the third quarter, we got a lead and I think we just kind of relaxed a little bit too much," Delta senior Jodi Menz said. "And that's when they started scoring. ... They were ahead of us by two and everybody just stopped playing."

Delta's Sam Bartels looks to pass during the second quarter Saturday.

Menz played well in her final high school game, scoring 28 points. She helped her team overcome a 21-12 deficit early in the second quarter by scoring 10 straight points on a 12-0 run, which at the time put her team ahead 24-21.

"We were down and it's my senior year and I didn't want to lose," Menz said. "I was just trying to get our momentum back up."



@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:DELTA (52) -- Taylor Smith 15, Katie Brucker 1, Kendra Burnett 3, Jodi Menz 28, Sam Bartels 5. FG 17, FT 14-22, F 15. (3-pointers: Smith 1, Menz 2, Bartels 1. Fouled out: None)

BAKERSFIELD (56) -- Emma French 14, Stephany Kasinger 15, Lia Fienhold 7, Shelby Belt 3, Martika Wages 2, Brooke Lair 15. FT 20, FT, 9-15, F 14. (3-pointers: Kasinger 3, Belt 1, Lair 3. Fouled out: None)

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