By TED RADICK
CAREY — Time and again Tuesday night, Carey worked the ball down low to its post players.
Time and again, Liberty-Benton’s Lauren Kotey swatted the ball away.
Kotey finished with 11 blocks as the Eagles held the Blue Devils to 15 points after the first quarter in a 47-31 nonconference win in a battle of northwestern Ohio heavyweight girls basketball programs.
Kotey did solid work on both ends of the floor. She grabbed 13 rebounds; three of those were on the offensive end to help her to a 14-point performance.
It added up to the first triple-double in the L-B girls program history, and played a big part in the Eagles’ 11th consecutive victory.
Liberty-Benton, ranked 10th in the Associated Press Division III poll released earlier Tuesday, handed Carey, ranked No. 14 in Division IV, its first loss in 14 games.
“Amanda (Hyde) was never close,” to a triple-double, L-B coach Nate Irwin said. “Cait (Craft) was never close. That’s a rare occurrence at our school, that’s for sure.”
Kotey outscored Carey’s post trio of Ali Rymer (2 points), Shelby Kin (5) and Logan Johnson (4).
“It’s almost like a turnover with those blocked shots,” Carey coach Phil Vaughn said. “We tried to keep attacking, and she did a good job of creating space and getting the block.”
Carey finished the night 12 of 39 from the floor. The Blue Devils were 7 of 11 from the field in the first quarter.
“I just tried to hold my ground,” said Kotey, a 6-foot-2 sophomore. “I knew it was important not to foul them, so I tried to time it when I went up for the block.”
Tuesday night was one of the best efforts Irwin has seen from his team in quite some time.
“From the second quarter on, that’s as good as we’ve played defense all year,” Irwin said. “Maybe in the past two or three years.
“Their post players are very good, but they’re undersized as compared to Lauren. We didn’t want to double-team, and we didn’t want to help in the post. We were going to force them to shoot over her, because she is really hard to shoot over. She does a great job of keeping her feet, and she was the difference-maker for our defense.”
Kotey’s dominance inside allowed L-B’s guards to concentrate on Carey’s perimeter offense. Carey hit 3 of 15 3-point attempts as the Eagles contested nearly every Blue Devil shot.
Sydney Wentling led the Blue Devils with 15 points and had all three of Carey’s treys. She hit her first 3-point attempt early in the first quarter, and another in the second half from about 24 feet from the basket.
“I told Rachel (Myers), I’ll give you that one,” Irwin said. “We’re OK with Wentling shooting from there.”
Wentling’s 3-pointer with 4:51 left in the third brought the Blue Devils to within three points of L-B at 26-23. The Eagles responded with a 13-1 run as Carey suffered through a 3 for 21 shooting drought through the middle two quarters.
“It was an equal opportunity poor shooting night,” Vaughn said. “Everyone shot poorly, and you can’t do that against a Liberty-Benton team. At least, you have to hope they’re shooting just as poorly, and they weren’t.”
Myers led the Eagles with 21 points as L-B shot 16 of 25 from inside the 3-point line. She and Kotey each hit layups near the end of the third quarter to five L-B a 32-23 advantage, and Myers drained a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.
“This was a big crowd that was fun to play in front of,” Myers said. “They were undefeated, we had one loss and we knew this was going to be a good game. At halftime it was a three-point game, and we decided as a team we needed to sit down and guard.
“In the second half, we held them to 11 points and that was the key to us winning.”
Trevino 0-0—0, Kotey 6-2—14, Myers 8-4—21, Hiegel 1-4—6, DeVincentis 0-2—2, Reynolds 2-0—4. TOTALS: 17-39 12-15—47.
Kin 2-1—5, S. Wentling 6-0—15, M. Wentling 0-0—0, Hoepf 0-0—0, Rymer 1-0—2, Johnson 2-0—4, G. Wentling 0-0—0, Draper 2-1—5. TOTALS: 12-39 2-7—31.
Liberty-Benton 16 7 9 15 — 47
Carey 16 4 3 8 — 31
3-Point GOALS: Liberty-Benton 1-14 (Myers); Carey 3-15 (S. Wentling 3).
rebounds: Liberty-Benton 27 (Kotey 13), Carey 32 (Johnson 11).
turnovers: Liberty-Benton 13, Carey 16.
junior varsity: Carey, 41-32.