Bollmann's 1,000th career point helps Meadow Heights girls basketball team defeat St. Vincent for the Delta New Years tourney title

Sunday, January 8, 2012
St. Vincent's Katie Mattingly, right, grabs a rebound away from Meadow Heights' Hayley Thorne during the second quarter of the Delta New Years tournament championship game Friday. (Fred Lynch)

DELTA -- Erin Bollmann earned the big piece of cake she craved after her team's victory Friday.

"Of course I get a big piece," she said. "There's a huge basketball on it, and I want that piece."

The cake was in honor of Bollmann scoring her 1,000th career point, which came in the final minute of the first quarter during the Delta New Years girls basketball tournament championship game.

"I was very nervous, actually," Bollmann said about reaching the milestone. "I just said the points will come if you play your game."

Bollmann scored a game-high 29 points to lead Meadow Heights past St. Vincent 61-43 to capture the tournament crown.

Meadow Heights' Erin Bollmann drives to the basket during the first quarter Friday. (Fred Lynch)

Her pursuit of her 1,000th career point actually led to her benching during the Panthers' semifinal win Wednesday.

"The last game, I was getting close to it and he took me out because he wanted a cake for Friday," she said. "I love my cake."

Bollmann's offensive prowess has increased significantly this season. She averaged a respectable 14.1 points per game last season, but she's scored more than that in every game this season. She's averaging 24.3 points through the Panthers' first 12 games and has topped 20 points nine times. Part of the reason for the increase is Bollmann's move from the post to guard.

"We didn't have any real guards coming back," Meadow Heights coach Mark Verticchio said. "We just thought we're going to have to have Whitney [Welker] and Erin handle the ball more. They're still not used to it. They still want to give it up when they shouldn't, but we've got about two months for them to learn when they get the ball, just go."

Bollmann started hot against the Indians. She scored nine points in the opening quarter and sat for the final seconds after scoring her 1,000th point. Her face shined with a huge smile as she received congratulations from Verticchio, her teammates and the Panthers faithful.

"As soon as I got that last bucket that made me 1,000 points, I was jumping for joy," she said. "It was amazing."

The Panthers grabbed a 38-17 halftime lead by shooting 55 percent (17 of 31) before the intermission.

"We started passing the ball a lot and tried to look for open shots," Bollmann said. "That's what we've been working on in practice a lot. It finally worked in a game."

Bollmann received plenty of help from fellow senior Whitney Welker, who finished with 23 points.

St. Vincent (9-3) struggled to get good looks at the basket in the first half. The Indians shot 35 percent (7 of 20) and turned over the ball 15 times during the opening two quarters.

"I thought our girls did a great job breaking the press, but when you break the press, sometimes you get into a hurry," St. Vincent coach Terry Wengert said. "We weren't finishing. When we finally started running our offense and relaxing a little bit, we got a few shots to fall and it made a difference."

The Indians did a much better job settling down in the second half. They shot 53 percent (10 of 19) and actually outscored the Panthers after the break.

"I wouldn't want to play them again," Verticchio said about the Indians. "They're not a bad ballclub."

Part of the Indians' problem was that they were playing short-handed. Senior guard Storm French, who started and scored seven points in Thursday's game against St. Pius, did not dress for the game because of the flu. That meant the Indians only had seven players dressed for the game, which was their fourth in as many days.

Courtney Heberlie paced the Indians with 16 points, while Katie Mattingly and Kayla Seabaugh both added 11.

St. Vincent1071610--43
Meadow Hts2018167--61

ST. VINCENT (43) -- Courtney Heberlie 16, Dani Hogard 5, Kayla Seabaugh 11, Katie Mattingly 11. FG 17, FT 6-13, F 7. (3-pointers: Heberlie 3. Fouled out: none)

MEADOW HEIGHTS (61) -- Erin Bollmann 29, Lauren Bess 2, Whitney Welker 23, Taylor Cureton 2, Caitlin Cook 2, Hayley Thorne 2. FG 27, FT 4-7, F 12. (3-pointers: Bollmann 1, Welker 1, Cureton 1. Fouled out: none)

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