In what could be a preview of what’s to come in the postseason, Mentor downed Chardon in overtime on Monday, 63-62.
The Hilltoppers held a 10-point lead at halftime but the Cardinals responded with a 10-0 run to start the second half and used a last-second shot to force the extra period.
“I’m very happy with how we played and how we executed offensively,” said Chardon coach Cullen Harris. “We told the kids after the game, good teams capitalize on defensive breakdowns and unfortunately we had one too many or one ball didn’t quite bounce our way and that’s hoops.”
Chardon led 12-10 after the first quarter and used a 21-13 run in the second to build a 33-23 halftime lead.
That advantage disappeared early in the third quarter.
“We knew that was going to happen,” Harris said. “That’s basketball; it’s a game of runs. We knew they were going to come out and turn up the intensity. The reality is a couple balls bounced the other way. We got really great looks and they didn’t go and they banked a 3 in during that run. One bounce a different way and it’s a different ball game. They turned up the intensity and we took a little bit to match it and that 10-point lead went back to square one and we had to grind away.”
Mentor led 44-41 heading into the final eight minutes of play but the Hilltoppers kept within striking distance.
Trailing by four with less than a minute to play, Sydney Feller hit a 3-pointer and Danni McCartney added an and-one to give Chardon a 56-54 lead with 14 seconds left in regulation.
Mentor’s Carolyn Wochele, who finished with a game-high 26 points, took the inbounds pass and went the length of the court for the game-tying layup.
Feller, who finished the game with 14 points hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Hilltoppers in overtime but a late foul sent Teagan Ochaya to the line. She hit one of two free throws to seal Mentor’s win.
“We were trying to put our hands in there to get a deflection or a jump ball and we got called for a foul,” Harris said. “She made the free throw to win the game.”
Tori Butala led Chardon with 16 points and Halle Landies pitched in with 15. Ochaya finished with 13 for the Cardinals.
If the postseason seeds hold true, Mentor and Chardon could see each other again in a Division I sectional championship game at Mentor on Feb. 22. Mentor, the No. 4 seed, plays No. 13 South and No. Chardon plays No. 12 Madison in the sectional semifinals on Feb. 17.
“We’ve got to take care of Madison first and that’s going to be a tough game because they always give us a hard matchup, but if the seeds hold, we played a one-point game in overtime against Mentor,” Harris said. “If we can pull that one off and the seeds hold, we get to see North again and that was a three-point game with a minute left last time we played them. We have an opportunity to make a run but if we don’t do the things we need to do we could be going home on Feb. 17. We’ve got to keep working hard and taking care of our business.”
Mentor 63, Chardon 62 (OT)
Mentor (7-12): Wochele 26, Betz 2, Duytone 1, Swider 8, Floriea 3, Hickman 8, Tatarunas 2, Ochaya 13
Chardon (10-10): Pastor 2, Bradley 5, Landies 15, Feller 14, Lundblad 3, McCartney 7, Butala 16
Mentor 10 13 21 12 7— 63
Chardon 12 21 8 15 6— 62
Free throws: Chardon 16 of 28, Mentor 7 of 17; 3-pointers: Chardon 8 (Feller 4, Butala 4), Mentor 6 (Wochele 4)