WAPAKONETA — It was only fitting that a free throw decided Wednesday night's Division III sectional semi-final between Columbus Grove and Coldwater at Wapakoneta High School.

On a night when there were 60 charity tosses attempted by the two squads, both teams had their chances at the line to get the win. Coldwater was unable to convert at the end of regulation to steal a win, while the Bulldogs used two free throws in the final seconds of overtime to come away with a 51-49 over the Cavaliers.
The win advances the Bulldogs (14-9) to the sectional finals Saturday night at 6:15 p.m. against Allen East.
Columbus Grove went to the free throw line 33 times Wednesday evening sinking 27. They were 7-of-8 at the line in overtime and 16-of-18 in the second half. Coldwater attempted 27 free throws in the game making 17 of them. However, two big misses at the end of regulation cost them a chance to advance.
In a tightly contested game, the Bulldogs went up 42-40 with 52 seconds left when Jade Clement drained two free throws. The Cavaliers had an opportunity to tie the game as Hannah Bruns was fouled going to the basket. She could only connect on the second of her two chances.
Coldwater's fullcourt pressure defense forced a Bulldog turnover giving them a chance to win the game in regulation. Sarah Kanney was fouled on a drive to the basket with four seconds left. Kanney missed her first attempt, then drained a pressure packed second free throw to tie the game at 42-42. Columbus Grove had a chance to win the game, but a long three-pointer by Rachel Schumacher was on line, but fell short of hitting the rim.
In overtime, the Bulldogs scored first on two free throws by Julia Wynn. The Cavaliers scored the next four points as Bruns hit two free throws and Joelle Hemmelgarn came up with a steal that she converted into two points. Columbus Grove tied the game on two free throws by Jade Clement before Wynn gave the Bulldogs the lead with 1:27 left with a free throw.
With 53 seconds left, Erica Sudhoff gave Coldwater the lead when she drained a three-pointer. Wynn tied the game with 37 seconds on a layup giving Coldwater a chance to play for the last shot. The Cavaliers missed the shot and in the battle for the rebound, Wynn was fouled with 1.8 seconds left. After a Cavalier timeout to ice Wynn, the senior center went to line and drained both chances. A long three-point attempt by Kanney was well off the mark as time expired.
“The game was back and forth all night and Julia Wynn came up big for us at the end with two free throws,” Bulldog coach Brian Schroeder said. “In that final huddle I told the girls this is a lot of fun, I don't know if I want this night to end, but Julia you can go ahead and hit the free throws if you want. She seemed cool, calm and confident and when that first one goes in that just makes the second one easier to hit.”
Only twice in the game did either team threaten to pull away from the other.
Behind their defense and two three-pointers from Kanney the Cavaliers grabbed an early 8-3 lead. Coldwater settled for a 12-7 first quarter lead as the Bulldogs hit just 2-of-11 shots and they stretched that lead to 16-7 early in the second quarter forcing coach Schroeder to use his second timeout of the game. That second timeout worked magic as the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run as they pulled into a 20-20 halftime tie with the Cavaliers. Columbus Grove never led in the opening half.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs tried to pull away as they built a 31-24 lead with an 8-0 run as Lynea Diller had four points, while Clement and Sydney McCluer both had a basket. Bruns converted a three point play late in the quarter to cut the Grove lead to 31-27 going to the final eight minutes.
Kanney scored the first four points of the final quarter to tie the game at 31-31. A Wynn putback and two free throws by Kyrah Yinger gave Grove a four point lead, which would be their biggest lead of the quarter. Coldwater led once in the final quarter as Denise Schwieterman canned a three-pointer only to see Sammi Stechschulte come right back with the Bulldogs only three of the night. Kanney tied the game with two free throws setting up the final exciting minutes of the game.
“Coldwater came out the more physical, more aggressive team and it gave us issues and we had to adjust to their play style and have our guards step up and make plays in one-on-one situations,” Schroeder said. “Fortunately we were able to make enough plays tonight. In that second timeout we just needed to gather ourselves, gather our poise a little bit, settle down and go over what we needed to do again. It was more just to talk them about the game plan.”
Wynn led the Bulldogs with 14 points and Diller had 11 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Clement added eight points.
Kanney led the Cavaliers and all scorers with 17 points and Bruns finished with 14.
* * *
Coldwater 13-46 17-27 49: Sarah Kanney 4-6-17; Brooke Welsch 2-1-6; Hannah Bruns 4-6-14; Erica Sudhoff 1-4-7; Denise Schwieterman 1-0-3; Joelle Hemmelgarn 1-0-2.
Columbus Grove 12-34 26-33 51: Julia Wynn 3-8-14; Sydney McCluer 1-4-6; Lynea Diller 5-1-11; Jade Clement 2-4-8; Sammi Stechschulte 1-2-5; Kyrah Yinger 0-5-5; Rachel Schumacher 0-0-0.
Coldwater 12 8 7 15 7 - 49
Columbus Grove 7 13 11 11 9 - 51
Three-point goals: Coldwater 6 (Kanney 3, Welsch 1, Sudhoff 1, Schwieterman 1); Columbus Grove 1 (Stechschulte 1).