By CHUCK RIDENOUR
Daily Globe Sports Editor
WILLARD - The emergence of a post game, most notably that of sophomore Maddi Fidler, has helped fuel Shelby's current five-game winning streak.Fidler's career-best 23 points powered the Lady Whippets to a 64-40 sectional tournament victory against Northern Ohio League opponent Ontario during Division II play at Willard High School Tuesday evening.The 5-foot-10 post also gathered nine rebounds as SHS won the battle of the glass 27-22, improved their record to 11-9 and earned a spot in the sectional final against Sandusky Perkins Thursday night at 8 p.m."Maddi had a nice game," said Shelby coach Natalie Lantz. "She attacked the basket and rebounded well. She also got her hands on some deflections, too."Fidler, who is averaging 6.8 points and 6.9 rebounds this year, has seen her numbers improve dramatically this month. In the last five games, she's scoring at a 14.2 clip and gathering 9.4 rebounds."Maddi has spent a lot of time after practice and worked on her post moves and getting balanced. She's really improved," lauded Lantz.Fidler's teammates have also funneled the ball to her down at the block."The guards are getting her the ball," added Lantz. "We knew we had a mismatch with her and wanted to get the ball inside."It was evident the Whippets wanted to push the ball into the lane from the start. The red and gray also did not attempt their first three-point shot until late in the third quarter.The success inside has opened up the perimeter game for the SHS."We have worked the ball around and worked for good shots. That has given us a higher shooting percentage," said Lantz. Shelby hit 27 of 59 shots for 46 percent, much better than their season average of 38 percent.Fidler started the scoring for the Whippets and had eight of the first 13 as the red and gray sprinted out to a 13-2 advantage.Nine unanswered points helped pull the Warriors within two (13-11) on a basket by Amanda Nething with 6:57 remaining in the opening half.SHS tallied the next eight, capped by Gabby Stephens jumper in the lane for a 21-11 lead midway through the second stanza. The red and gray led 27-18 at the intermission.Ontario got as close as six (32-26) at the 3:28 mark of the third frame on a hoop by Madeline Collins. That would be the closest they would get the rest of the night.Field goals by Fidler, Kennadie Goth, Madison Alfrey and Gabby Stephens opened up the lead. Jackie Garrett fired an inbounds pass to Stephens behind a screen and she swished a three-pointer that made it 41-28.Shelby continued to pull away in the fourth, outscoring the Warriors 23-11 and led by as many as 24 points on late hoops by Emily Gove and Kadie Hoffman.The Whippets, who swept all three games versus Ontario this season, harassed their opponent into committing 25 turnovers. A number of those miscues were cashed in for scores.Stephens finished the evening with 13 points and she also had five rebounds and five steals. Garrett tallied 12 and handed out four assists.Collins topped OHS with 18.Looking ahead to Thursday at Willard, Lantz described the Pirates as a "solid team."We'll need to come out strong and play four quarters of basketball," said the coach.Perkins brings a record of 14-8 into the game.ONTARIO (40)McCauley 1 0 2, Shaver 1 0 2, Shelby 3 3 9, Nething 4 1 9, Collins 7 4 18, Totals 16-43 8-14 40.SHELBY (64)Goth 3 0 6, K. Hoffman 1 0 2, Stephens 5 2 13, Garrett 4 2 12, Gove 1 0 2, D. Hoffman 0 1 1, Fidler 11 1 23, Alfrey 2 1 5, Totals 27-59 7-9 64.Ontario 7 11 11 11 -40Shelby 13 14 14 23 -64Three-point field goals - Stephens (S), Garrett (S) 2. Rebounds - Ontario 22, Shelby 27. Turnovers - Ontario 25, Shelby 10.