“It hurt when we lost Walsh on fouls,” said Stephens, “but we still played well. Maddie [Winkler] handled their press well and [Lindsey] Andrews did a good job against their point guard. We just never really could dig out from that 8-0 hole.”
In the fifth-place game, the Storm won the opening quarter 12-7 and kept the lead 17-14 at halftime. They restored their five-point margin early in the third quarter at 21-16, but then things began to swing in favor of the Patriots.
Seeger had struggled defensively in the first half as Salt Fork took the lead according to Patriot coach Brent Rademacher, but he said he changed some things before the team returned to the floor for the third quarter.
“We seemed tired and our traps weren’t getting us any steals,” he explained. “We made some adjustments – switching to a zone press – in the second half and I think it helped.”
The Patriots began to eat into the Storm five-point lead as the third quarter progressed. They held their opponents to only four points in the final five minutes of the stanza but still trailed 25-24.
The fourth quarter saw Seeger tie the game then take the lead on a free throw by Miranda Synesael and three-point play by Hannah Gustus.
The Patriots would later give up a jumper to Logan Sanford of the Storm, but that basket would account for the lone points they would score in the quarter. Seeger added to their lead and came out on top 36-27.
“There are some really good teams here,” said Rademacher, “and I think playing them will help us in the future.”
For Salt Fork coach Jeff Carleton, the game came down to shooting percentages.
“We shot 46 percent in the first half and only 26 percent in the second,” he said. “Our girls played well. We rebounded well and didn’t have many turnovers. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket in the second half.”