NEW WASHINGTON — Borden used a well-executed defense to shut down the host Mustangs’ biggest weapons and fired off an offensive arsenal of their own en route to a 57-43 Class A New Washington Sectional championship victory Saturday night.
The win gives the ninth-ranked Braves their third title in four years and sends them to next Saturday’s West Washington Regional against the winner of the Loogootee Sectional, which will be determined after Monday’s championship game between No. 4 Vincennes Rivet (18-4) and No. 6 Barr-Reeve (17-3).
“This is a great feeling,” said Borden senior guard Shelby Kirchgessner, who scored 13, grabbed six steals and was instrumental in quieting New Washington’s offense Saturday. “[We won sectional] my freshman and sophomore years, but this is definitely the best one. This one means a lot to me.”
Defending champion New Washington looked in charge and under control early on, charging ahead 14-8 with stellar shooting (6 for 8), including a pair of old-fashioned 3s and eight points from senior guard Ashley Johnson.
After the first quarter buzzer sounded, though, the wheels all but fell off.
New Washington (12-9) went 0 for 8 from the floor for six minutes thanks to a Borden triangle-and-2 defense that keyed on and shut down Johnson and her teammate, senior Courtney Amick. The Braves, meanwhile, used a 22-3 run that spanned the half to take a 30-17 lead.
“We got away from our flow of the game offensively,” said New Washington coach Terry White, “and we have had a tendency this year to allow our offense to dictate what we do defensively. So if we’re struggling on one end, suddenly we’re struggling on both ends. But, hey, Borden is a good team. They have a lot of players who really understand their roles.”
Junior guard Kristen Nestor led the Braves with 18 points, including 4-of-5 3-pointers — two of which helped spark the big 22-3 run. Sophomore Natalie Ruedinger scored 13 and collected 21 rebounds.
“We have an awful lot of offensive fire power and a lot of weapons that can step up and hurt you,” Borden coach Terry Rademacher said. “I’m really happy for this group of kids.”
For New Washington, junior guard Emilee Holloway stepped into the role of leading scorer and finished with 15 points — all on 3-pointers, but none of which were able to get the Mustangs over the hump. Holloway’s trey with just under a minute to go in the third quarter pulled New Washington back to within six, 32-27. Kirchgessner answered by sinking a 3-point buzzer beater, then drove the dagger in deeper with another 3 just seconds into the fourth.
The Braves put the game away with 17-of-22 free throw shooting.
New Washington, which loses four seniors to graduation off this year’s squad, defeated Christian Academy 57-38 earlier in the day to advance to the championship game. Amick and Johnson combined for 32 of the Mustangs’ points in that win, and fellow senior Brooke Abbott scored 10 and grabbed 17 rebounds. Allison Burch led Christian Academy with 22 points.
Borden, which drew the bye in the sectional, beat Lanesville 51-20 in the day’s opener. Nine players scored for the Braves in that game, led by Nestor and Ruedinger’s 10 apiece.
BORDEN 57, NEW WASHINGTON 43
Borden 8 15 12 22—57
New Washington 15 3 10 16—43
Borden (17-2): Kristen Nestor 18, Natalie Ruedinger 13, Shelby Kirchgessner 13, Abby Ellis 11, Sarah Hurst 2.
New Washington (12-9): Emilee Holloway 15, Ashley Johnson 14, Courtney Amick 3, Brooke Abbott 3, Lexie James 3, Kaitlyn Schindler 3, Shelby Haymaker 2.
3-point field goals: Borden 7 (Nestor 4, Kirchgessner 3); New Washington 6 (Holloway 5, Amick).
Rebounds: Borden 36 (Ruedinger 21); New Washington 45 (Amick 11).
NEW WASHINGTON 57, CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 38
New Washington 15 17 15 10—57
Christian Academy 19 7 8 4—38
New Washington (12-8): Courtney Amick 21, Ashley Johnson 11, Brooke Abbott 10, Emilee Holloway 6, Shelby Haymaker 5, Lexie James 2, Haley Tye 2.
Christian Academy (5-15): Allison Burch 22, Emily Huffaker 6, Brittany Moffett 4, Kiersten Carruthers 4, Haleigh Caldwell 2.
3-point field goals: New Washington 5 (Amick 3, Holloway 2); Christian Academy 3 (Burch 3).
Rebounds: New Washington 63 (Abbott 17); Christian Academy 46 (Moffett 16).
BORDEN 51, LANESVILLE 20
Borden 8 16 11 16—51
Lanesville 2 3 11 4—20
Borden (16-2): Kristen Nestor 10, Natalie Ruedinger 10, Carson Casey 8, Riley Schindler 6, Shelby Kirchgessner 6, Abby Ellis 4, Sarah Hurst 4, Paige Schindler 2, Taylor Streander 1.
Lanesville (7-14): Erica Daly 6, Emma Zeller 6, Hannah Walther 3, Michaela Behr 2, Elise Lawson 2, Emily Davis 1.
3-point field goals: Borden 4 (Nestor 2, Kirchgessner 2); Lanesville 3 (Zeller 2, Walther).