(March 8, 2013) The Stephen Decatur girls’ basketball team’s season came to an end last Wednesday at the hands of the Howard Lions.
Berlin was the site of the 3A East Regional semifinal game, where the second-seeded Lady Seahawks hosted the No. 3 Lions. Howard proved to be a bit too much for Decatur to handle, and the visitors won the competition 67-33. The Lions netted seven three pointers, which contributed to nearly a third of the team’s points.
“Not only are they very good, but they also came in and shot so well. They couldn’t miss a shot,” Decatur Coach Amy Fenzel-Mergott said after the loss. “It was very frustrating for us. Also, one of our assets has always been getting the ball in to our big girls and their big girls did a very good job of anticipating … and that was really hard for us because then we were kind of stuck on what to do.”
The Lions took it to the Seahawks early and secured a 25-4 lead by the end of the first quarter. By halftime, Howard had pulled ahead 42-13. The Berlin squad went into the locker room with three starters — senior captains Abbey Schorr and Monique Wise and freshman Dayona Godwin — with three fouls apiece.
“It was a mix of different things that went on, then we got into foul trouble and I’ve got girls who have to sit on the bench because they have foul issues,” Fenzel-Mergott said.
Scoring was more even in the third quarter. The Lions tacked on 14 points, while the Seahawks tallied 13. After three quarters, the visiting team led 56-26.
Midway into the fourth quarter, Schorr fouled out. Seconds later, Wise committed her fifth foul and took a seat on the bench also. Both players were visibly upset as their final season playing for Decatur was coming to a close.
Howard outscored Decatur 11-7 in the final quarter to secure the victory.
“I think that we could have done a better job with executing our offense. It’s tough because they’re playing a man-to-man defense, which we really haven’t seen all year,” Fenzel-Mergott said. “Overall, I’m very proud of their effort and I’m very proud that they didn’t quit.”
Godwin scored 13 points for Decatur. Sophomore Marina Jones had seven points, five rebounds and three blocks.
The Decatur basketball program had its most successful season since 2004, when the Seahawks went 20-4 and won the 3A East Regional title. This year’s squad finished 21-3.
“We’ve had such a great year. Everybody is going to lose that last game except for the state champion,” Fenzel-Mergott said. “We had some injuries and we handled adversity, we won some tough games, Abbey scored her 1,000th point. It was really an phenomenal season.
“Even though [the loss] was a disappointment, I’ve got to just take a step back and enjoy the season because not every season is like this, as I know,” she said.
Three seniors — Schorr, Wise and Casey Ortiz — will graduate in May, but Fenzel-Mergott is confident the team will be strong next year.
“The girls have made a commitment to working in the off-season and I think that’s really going to help,” she said.