Shekinah Christian was a bit outmanned on Thursday night, Feb. 20.
The Flames, however, hope this season puts them right back in position to return to where they have been accustomed. Shekinah Christian’s season came to an end at the hands of Newark Catholic for the second straight season, falling this time 70-35 in a Division IV second-round game at Lakewood.
Shekinah Christian beat Newark Catholic in a regional semifinal two seasons ago, but the Green Wave gained their revenge in a 2013 district final. The Flames graduated four starters from that team, and Newark Catholic is loaded for another deep postseason run with six experienced juniors.
“For potentially the smallest Division IV school in the state, we compete, and we will take the hardest schedule we can get,” first-year Shekinah Christian coach Terry Rohrer said.
Jill Blacksten and Ashleigh Parkinson, a pair of 6-foot-2 standouts, combined for 48 points and 25 rebounds. Parkinson also had the rare combination of seven blocks and five assists.
Shekinah Christian (8-13) was fearless, driving the ball into the paint at every opportunity. Too many times, however, the Green Wave (22-2) overwhelmed the Flames. Shekinah Christian shot 23 percent and was out-rebounded 48-27 as Newark Catholic turned many of the missed shots into fast-break baskets.
“I would like to have gotten to the foul line more often,” Rohrer said. “When we attacked, we needed to get a body into them and turn some of those blocks into charity points. Our shooting percentage was below what it needed to be for us to win.”
Newark Catholic hit three first-quarter 3-points and dropped Shekinah Christian into a 21-7 hole. The Flames, however, played even with the Green Wave most of the second quarter.
Senior Ashley Gingerich scored nine of her team-high 17 points in the second quarter. Her 3-pointer in the final minute drew the Flames within 34-16 at halftime.
“This team we just played. It’s a good team,” Newark Catholic coach Rob Smith said. “Don’t let that score fool you. We worked a lot on our man-to-man. This team can defend outside, and I thought that was huge.”
Parkinson helped the Green Wave pull away for good in the third quarter, scoring 11 of her 21 points. She had 12 rebounds, supporting Blacksten’s 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Kiara Rohrer added 10 points for Shekinah Christian, and senior Janelle Roby had five rebounds.
“I was impressed that our girls never gave up and believed they could compete with a very good team,” Terry Rohrer said. “For our two seniors and three starting sophomores, this was a great test for them, and I thought they never backed down.”
The Flames finished strong. They dominated No. 4 seed Fairfield Christian in a late-season matchup, and they had just an eight-point loss to Marysville earlier this month.
On Thursday, top-seeded Newark Catholic was too much. If history is any indication, the teams will cross paths again in the postseason
“We knew it was a little bit of a transition year,” Terry Rohrer said. “I thought our girls played well, and we have a system and a tradition in place. We hope to be back next year.”
Newark Catholic 70,
Shekinah Christian 35
SC — 7 -9- 15- 4 — 35
NC — 21-13- 24- 12 — 70
Rohrer 4-0-0-10, A. Gingerich 6-4-4-17, S. Gingerich 1-0-0-2, Roby 3-0-0-6. Totals 14-4-4-35.
Evans 1-0-0-2, Durbin 2-2-2-7, Bourne 1-0-0-2, Andrews 1-0-0-2, Clapper 3-0-0-9, Blacksten 13-1-2-27, Parkinson 9-2-2-21. Totals 30-5-6-70.
3-point goals: SC (Rohrer 2, A. Gingerich 1); NC (Clapper 3, Durbin 1, Parkinson 1)
Rebounds: SC 27 (Roby 5); NC 48 (Blacksten 13)
Assists: SC 7 (Scheffel 3); NC 20 (Parkinson 5, Clapper 5)