ITHACA — There would be no putback by Emily VanVliet for Grandville Calvin Christian to send Carson City-Crystal to the sidelines this time.
The Eagles made 11 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter and held off a late charge by the Squires to win 38-34 in the Class C girls regional semifinal Tuesday night.
The game almost ended up eerily similar to last year’s game where VanVliet rebounded a miss and scored to give the Squires the win.
They got as close as 35-34 to CC-Crystal with under a minute left in the game, but Mackenzie Geister and Mikayla Duflo made free throws to put the game out of reach.
CC-Crystal coach Larry Farmer knew he had won a war.
“It was so up and down,” he said. “We just made enough free throws to put it away. I thought our free-throw shooting down the stretch was pretty good.”
The early part of the game looked like the Eagles (21-1) would cruise to a win, as they jumped out to a 9-1 lead. Calvin Christian (17-5) didn’t make a field goal until there was 2:24 left in the first quarter.
“We were able to get some matchups our way, we hit a shot,” Farmer said.
However the Squires went on an 8-3 run from that point until the end of the quarter to trail 12-9.
But Calvin Christian had only a Heidi Boeve putback in the second quarter and the Squires trailed 18-11 at the break.
But after holding CC-Crystal down to just a Duflo three for most of the third quarter, the Squires closed to within two at a 25-23 deficit.
“It was just two good teams going at it,” Farmer said. “When you get to this time of the year, everybody’s good, they (opponents) are going to make counter-punches and we just had one more than they (Calvin Christian) had. That’s the opposite of last year when they had one more than we did.”
Calvin Christian tied the game at 25 with 5:50 left in the fourth quarter, but six straight free throw makes gave the Eagles the lead back.
VanVliet split two free throws then Hilary Curry converted a steal into two points to trim the lead to three.
But Jenna Schneider hit the only field goal CC-Crystal made in the fourth quarter, a wide-open look from the baseline that restored the lead to five with 2:44 left.
VanVliet hit two free throws a minute later but fouled out on the Eagles’ next possession. A three-pointer by Cobie Koning shaved the deficit to one before Geister and Duflo hit their free throws for the win.
“They (CC-Crystal) just gutted it out,” Farmer said.
Geister finished the night with a team-high 15 points, while Duflo added nine. Schneider and Tori Christiansen had seven each for the 38 points.
Curry led the Squires with eight points.
The Eagles will face St. Louis in the regional final Thursday after the Sharks beat Shelby 58-38.
“A great team,” Farmer said of the Sharks. Walter (St. Louis coach Walter Berry) does an outstanding job with them They are very disciplined, they won their conference, they have a lot of wins, it’s going to be a playoff basketball game between two good teams.”
CC-CRYSTAL 38, GRANDVILLE CALVIN CHRISTIAN 34
Grandville CC 9 2 12 11 — 34
CC-Crystal 12 6 7 13 — 38
GRANDVILLE CC (17-5) — H.Curry 4 0-0 8, Rietberg 0 1-2 1, Coning 2 0-0 6, Schutte 3 0-0 6, VanVliet 2 3-6 7, Boeve 3 0-1 6. Totals: 14 4-9 34. Three-point goals: Koning 2. Total fouls: 22. Fouled out: VanVliet.
CC-CRYSTAL (21-1) — Duflo 2 4-4 9, Jolls 0 0-2 0, Christiansen 1 5-6 7, Schneider 3 0-2 7, McAlvey 0 0-2 0, Geister 5 5-6 15. Totals: 11 14-22 38. Three-point goals: Duflo, Schnieder. Total fouls: 14. Fouled out: Christiansen.