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COLUMBUS — Scotus Central Catholic solved Twin River’s tough defense Thursday night to advance to the championship game of the Columbus Holiday Tournament for the seventh consecutive season.

The Shamrocks got out to an early lead and led by double digits most of the second half in the 45-33 win at Dowd Activity Center.

“We did a good job with our pressure and that let us get some easy buckets to start,” Scotus head coach Jarrod Ridder said.

Those easy baskets propelled Scotus to a 10-5 lead midway through the first quarter, a strong offensive start coming off a five-day break against a team that only allows 32 points per game.

The Shamrocks led 12-9 after the first quarter and 24-15 at halftime, showcasing a strong defense that surrenders just 33 points per game. Scotus scored the final five points of the second quarter to pull away.

“They’re a very experienced team,” Twin River head coach Jeff Morris said. “That’s a good basketball team.”

A free throw from Bailey Lehr and putback by Shania Borchers gave the Shamrocks a 27-15 advantage moments into the second half, their first double-digit lead of the game.

Twin River responded with a 9-2 run, but Scotus answered with an 8-2 spurt of its own to make it a 37-26 game entering the final quarter.

“We either got a steal or rebound or shot that we needed to keep the lead where it was,” Ridder said.

Scotus made just five field goals in the second half, but kept Twin River at a distance thanks to its free-throw shooting. The Shamrocks made 10 of 12 free throws in the second half and went 19 of 24 for the game.

Maggie Feehan scored a game-high 15 points for Scotus while Lehr scored 10, all in the second half. Borchers had eight of her 10 points in the first half.

Gabi Wieck scored 10 points to lead Twin River.

The Shamrocks (6-2) advance to play Lakeview in the championship game on Friday for the fifth consecutive year. Scotus won the previous four matchups, but Ridder isn’t taking the crosstown rival lightly.

“It’s always a fun game and a good atmosphere to play in,” he said.

Twin River (6-3) faces Schuyler in Friday's consolation game. Morris expects his young team to bounce back from a learning experience against the Shamrocks.

“These kids have worked hard all year. I have no doubt in my mind that these kids want to be successful and will play hard,” Morris said.

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