TROY — The well-worn adage that it is hard to beat an opponent three times in one season proved prophetic Saturday when the Northmont girls basketball team faced Fairmont in the opening round of the sectional tournament at Troy High School.
The Lady Bolts defeated the Lady Firebirds 41-40 at home December 19 and 34-31 at Fairmont on January 23.
Saturday the tables were turned as Fairmont posted a 42-32 victory in the opening round of the girls Division I sectional.
Northmont had no answer for Fairmont guards Mariah Roe and Celeste Etter in the decisive fourth quarter. Roe scored 11 of her 13 points and Etter seven of her eight points in the final eight minutes of play to send the Lady Bolts packing.
With the victory Fairmont improved to 8-15 while Northmont ended its season with a final record of 10-12. It also ended an era with sisters Erin and Anna Mangen and cousin Cory Mangen playing together as starters for the Lady Bolts. Anna, a sophomore and Erin, a junior, will return next season. Cory is a senior and played her final game in the loss.
None of that trio managed to score in double figures during the loss to Fairmont. Cory scored six while Anna and Erin tallied two points each.
The first quarter of the game was a defensive battle with Fairmont holding a 4-3 advantage entering the second quarter. Neither team established control in the second quarter with Fairmont holding a 14-12 halftime lead. Drew Heatherly boosted Fairmont’s lead to 16-12 early in the third quarter but Northmont answered with a basket by senior forward Alexia Payne.
Cory Mangen knotted the score 16-16 and a few possession exchanges later Payne drew a foul by Kate Gregory. Payne misfired on both her shots but managed to get her own rebound on the second shot to score from the right side of the lane to put Northmont up 18-16. After a missed Fairmont shot Payne drew another foul and this time sank both shots to give the Lady Bolts a 20-16 lead.
Northmont came up with a steal and Erin Mangen drew a foul by Madison Conally and sank the back end of the bonus to boost the lead to 21-16 with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter. Etter sank a free throw and Madison Conally hit two from the charity stripe for the Lady Firebirds to cut Northmont’s lead to 21-19 entering the fourth quarter.
Shalaya Heath hit the front end of a one-and-one after snaring a defensive rebound and Roe sank two free throws for Fairmont to cut Northmont’s lead to 22-21. Heatherly got a basket to put Fairmont up by a point and Payne sank a pair of free throws to put the Lady Bolts back on top for the final time, 24-23.
From there things went south for Northmont. Roe scored by driving through the paint and Etter scored inside to put Fairmont up 27-24 with 4:55 remaining. Cory Mangen sank the front end of a one-and-one but Roe countered with a basket on a baseline drive to boost Fairmont’s lead to 31-25.
Northmont caught a break when Jenna Hoschouer got fouled on a 3-point attempt and sank two of three from the foul line. After a Fairmont miss Hoschouer scored on a jump shot to cut the deficit to 31-29. Roe scored and drew a foul and sank the free throw to boost Fairmont’s lead to 34-29.
Cory Mangen nailed a 3-pointer with two minutes remaining to cut Fairmont’s lead to 34-32 but that proved to be Northmont’s final points of the game. From there Etter buried a trey, sank two free throws and Roe three from the charity stripe in the final minute to give Fairmont a 42-32 victory.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, but we knew it was going to be a fight against Fairmont,” said Northmont Coach Bethany Kincer. “They were gunning for us because we beat them twice. We did something that no other Northmont girls basketball team can say, that they beat Fairmont twice in one season. I am proud of the girls and the season that we had. Our three seniors, Alexia Payne, Ashley Jones and Cory Mangen have definitely provided us with great leadership and helped us get ten wins this season, which is something not a lot of Northmont basketball programs can say. We are making a step in the right direction.”
Kincer credited Fairmont senior Mariah Roe for her performance.
“Roe kind of decided she was going to take the game over and got some open layups, went in hard and sank some key foul shots,” Kincer added. “We kind of struggled at the line and it hurt us at the end of the game. I am proud of the girls and proud of their effort. They came out fighting extra hard to try to beat Fairmont one more time, so you win some and you lose some.”
Fairmont advances to face Tecumseh at Troy on Tuesday. Tecumseh scored a 66-36 victory Saturday over Xenia immediately after Northmont’s loss to Fairmont.
FMT 4 14 19 42 – 42
NMT 3 12 21 32 – 32
Fairmont: Mariah Roe 13, Jen Nischwitz 2, Hadley Short 1, Jamie Pacenta 2, Drew Heatherly 4, Celeste Etter 8, Madison Conally 12. Totals: 15-11-42.
Northmont: Antonette Dorsey 2, Jenna Hoschouer 4, Cory Mangen 6, Anna Mangen 2, Ashley Jones 5, Erin Mangen 2, Shalaya Heath 3, Alexia Payne 8. Totals: 9-13-32.
3-point goals: Fairmont 1 (Etter); Northmont 1 (C. Mangen).
Records: Fairmont 8-15, Northmont 10-12.
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind