Comets claim District Championship with win over Springboro
Abby Waechter | Staff Writer
The Mason Comets girls basketball team pushed their record to 20-0 and in the process captured a district championship with a 60-44 win over the Springboro Panthers on Saturday, February 27 at Princeton High School.
After Springboro jumped ahead of Mason in the first quarter 15-13, coupled with junior forward Kyla Oldacre going to the bench with two fouls, the Comets were forced to turn up the defensive pressure. In the second quarter Mason outscored the Panthers 18-10, sparked by senior forward Kate Cooper who came off the bench to grab three rebounds and dish out two assists to propel the Comets to a 31-25 lead in the half.
The Mason offense was led by sophomore guard Margo Mattes who scored eight first half points along with four assists and two rebounds. Mattes turned in a complete game effort, ending the game with 12 points, six assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
In the third quarter Mason’s signature lock down defense held the Panthers in check, holding Springboro to only seven points in the quarter, while the Comets pushed their lead to 45-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
Earlier in the season Mason defeated the Panthers in a non-conference matchup in overtime. In that game Springboro wiped away a late double digit deficit to force the game into overtime behind the powerful scoring duo of Jordan Hobbs and Peyton Nation. There would be no late game heroics from the Panthers this time around.
Even with a 13 point lead the Comets knew this game wasn’t over and they would have to keep tabs on the Springboro scorers who could erupt at any time. Hobbs still managed to pour in 17 points while Nation added 14 but it wasn’t enough as the Comets were able to hit crucial free throws in the final quarter to seal the victory.
Mason was able to outscore Springboro in the final quarter and hold on for the win. A win that guaranteed another district title and regional semi-final match up with Wayne.
The Comets have yet to be beaten and in the district title win over Springboro, were led by a balanced scoring attack. Marilyn Popplewell led the team with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Oldacre contributed 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots, Mattes added 12 points, while senior point guard CC Cary added 10 points including going 4 of 4 from the foul line in the crucial final minutes to help the Comets secure the win. Senior Riley Cosimi also chipped in nine points, shooting 50% from behind the line point line, going three for six.
Cary said that the team’s positive outlook going into the game helped them to overcome the pressure that they faced.
“We stayed positive the whole time, even going into the game,” Cary said. “The encouragement from each other before and during the game helped our execution and we did what we needed to do.”
Head Coach Rob Matula said that the team has displayed an incredible amount of athleticism this year and since entering the postseason they are taking their games one step at a time.
“I think we’ve done a nice job following our game plans all season,” Matula said. “Being undefeated is nice, but right now we’re taking it one game at a time, trying to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Remaining undefeated is going to be a challenge for the Comets because they will now face the Wayne Warriors in the regional semi-final. The Warriors concluded the season 17-3 and shared the Greater Western Ohio Conference championship with Centerville. The Warriors have a powerful team led by McDonald’s All American Aubyanna “Bree” Hall who is committed to play her college basketball at national powerhouse the University of South Carolina. Wayne has marched through the post season defeating their three opponents by an average of 49 points a game.
The Comets will play the Warriors on Wednesday, March 3 at 8:00 at Princeton High School. A win over Wayne would put the Comets in the regional final where they could face the winner of Mt. Notre Dame and Centerville.
At this point in the tournament every team remaining has their sights set on a state title. The southwest district in Ohio features several powerful teams all capable of winning it all. Matula said that advancing will bring forth fierce competitors and the Comets will have to fight for every point.
“At this point in the season all of the teams are very good,” Matula said. “That means that we are going to have to be even better with the ball, and make sure that we are ready for a press.”
Cary said that there is not an easy road ahead of them, but that the team is confident in their skills and believes that they have a shot at moving forward.
“We feel confident that if we play the way we have been playing that we can win,” Cary said. “We are all capable of making it happen.”
Photo by Meghan Dincler