Jackets’ seniors crucial to 7-game win streak


PERRYSBURG — Perrysburg’s 51-49 Northern Lakes League girls basketball win over Springfield Thursday contributed to Senior Night celebrations honoring four Yellow Jackets: forwards Megan Gibbs, Natalie French, Kelsey Cloyne and Aubry Petree.

The foursome stuck through thick and thin, no matter what happened through their four-year careers.

After sophomore guard Hayley Griggs banked home a 22-foot buzzer-beater Thursday to get the Yellow Jackets their 16th win against six losses, even the three senior non-starters were among those celebrating and pouncing on Griggs at center court.

“We have a great senior group,” Perrysburg coach Todd Sims said. “Three of them didn’t get in tonight, but you couldn’t tell in the locker room when I walked in there.

“They were having just as much fun as everybody else. It’s a great group and we’re going to miss them.”

Griggs, wearing a knee brace after missing several games this season, added, “I love the senior class. They lead us. They get our team chemistry staying together and everything like that. We’re going to miss them next year.”

Gibbs, the lone senior starter who will play lacrosse and basketball at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, said the senior foursome has come a long way since they first walked onto the high school court.

“The senior class is amazing. I remember our freshman year, the first practice, the first trial, there were seven of us at the time,” Gibbs said.

“All seven of us walked out together, we were the best friends and we’ve stayed the best friends. We’ve lost a couple to other sports along the way, but the senior class is great,” she said. “Everybody leads and the chemistry is insane between all of us, not just the seniors, but the upperclassmen and the lowerclassmen.”

Perrysburg has now won seven straight games heading into the Division I tournament, where they will begin play Wednesday, facing Ashland at Lake High School with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

The winner gets Toledo Notre Dame at 6 p.m. on Feb. 18 for the right to advance to district play.

“I think this team has come really far, especially from last season, too, we’ve come so much farther,” Gibbs said. “The start of the season started off a little rocky, but we’ve pulled it together and we’re going into the tournament really strong.”

Sims added, “We’re playing well. Thing is, now it’s 0-0 for everybody so you have to kind of refocus and see if we can get a little tourney run going.”

At 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, Springfield takes on Sandusky at Lake. A Springfield win and Perrysburg win that day would mean they play again for the rubber match in a district semifinal at Central Catholic’s Sullivan Center.

Springfield edged Perrysburg, 34-33 in the first meeting, so Springfield coach Clifton Hodges knows what kind of team he will be up against if they have to face the Jackets again.

Springfield, like Perrysburg, starts just one senior — plus the Perrysburg junior varsity team concluded its perfect 22-0 season with a win over Springfield Thursday — so that potential district tournament game could be a preview for NLL games next year.

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