A fast start led Berkshire to a 66-60 upset win at Rootstown on Saturday and a berth into the Division III Lakeview district tournament for the first time since 2012.
The 10th-seeded Badgers jumped out to an early lead over the eight-seeded Rovers and used that momentum to extend their postseason run.
“The team energy to start the game is what set our tone for the afternoon,” said Berkshire coach James Bosley. “We came out and got ahead early. Foul troubles played a role early, but we had several girls step up through the game in situations.”
Lydia Kastor and Maddy Triskett combined to score 22 of Berkshire’s 29 half-time points. Kastor finished with 24 points, four rebounds, and two assists while Triskett contributed with 20 points and four rebounds.
“Those two really took advantage of Rootstown keying on Lydia and saw their opportunities to score,” Bosley said. “Maddy made back-to-back 3-point shots that helped a solid run.”
Rootstown used a third-quarter run to tie the game but Kastor went on a scoring spree to create some distance between the Badgers and Rovers.
“Lydia did what we all know and see her do, she simply took over the game,” Bosley said. “Kylie (Neumore) set her up for a couple of open 3s that she made and then she worked herself open for two more. She ended up hitting five 3s in the third quarter and scoring 17 of her 24 in that frame. She also had two assists in the third quarter.”
Neumore, Kastor, and Triskett hit clutch free throws in the fourth quarter and the Badger defense held off the Rovers down the stretch.
“The fourth quarter was just trying to control the clock after getting a lead,” Bosley said. “Kylie, Lydia, and Maddy did a great job of making foul shots in the fourth. We really relaxed on defense and Rootstown took advantage, but we were able to hold on and pick up the win.”
Hayley Stoddard added eight points and five rebounds, Caroline Kuchling pitched in with seven points, three steals, and two assists, and Neumore finished with three points and five assists.
The Badgers open their first district tournament in a decade against third-seeded Garrettsville Garfield on Wednesday at Cortland Lakeview.
“It’s a great win for our team and for the program as a whole,” Bosley said. “This group has embraced playing a tough schedule all season for games like this one against Rootstown. We never focused on winning or losing games all year but winning small battles every day, every game. Through the highs and lows of the season, these girls have stuck together to get to where we are at.”