CUYAHOGA FALLS — It took a lot Saturday afternoon for Chippewa’s girls basketball team to get back into the game.

In fact, it took just about everything the Chipps had.

You could see it in the moments after the final buzzer as guard Bailee Ferrell had ice packs on her neck and back, and in the way veteran coach Denny Schrock’s shirt had become completely untucked.

In the end, it was all worth it as the Chipps turned around an 18-point second-half deficit to outlast Elyria Catholic 39-37 for the Cuyahoga Falls Division III regional title.

“Hey, I was jumping around like a crazy man out there,” Schrock said with a grin. “We wanted this game. We wanted this. I'm so happy with what our girls have accomplished … it doesn't get any better than that.”

Trailing 31-13 late in the third quarter, it looked as if Chippewa's (25-1) season was soon to end. Little by little, however, it all changed. Credit that to the scrappy defense — led by the play of senior Bailey Clark — that has been the Chipps’ calling card all year long.

After almost single-handedly keeping the team alive in the first half, the 5-foot-7 Clark, who finished with nine points, eight rebounds and eight steals, kick-started a remarkable run in the final 10½ minutes to send Chippewa on to a date with Waynesville in a state semifinal at 3 p.m. Thursday in Columbus.

“It was our defense … it's everything,” Clark said. “We knew we had to come out here and get three or four steals to be back in the game and start making foul shots. That really helped us.”

Clark had six points in a third quarter during which the Panthers (22-5) saw their comfortable lead start to trickle away. The senior went 3-of-4 at the line in the final 2:20 before leading scorer Celina Koncz (14 points) connected on her first field goal after starting the game an uncharacteristic 0-of-8 from the floor.

Koncz then cut the deficit to 10 in the opening minute of the fourth before three consecutive steals started a comeback that no one in the gym saw coming. When she converted a left-handed lay-in with 5:26 left, the margin was down to 31-27.

“It took everybody,” Ferrell said. “Once we started putting the pressure on them with our defense, they were turning the ball over and that's what we needed."

As they had all game, the Panthers went back to post Ally Winnen. The junior, who was dominant all day en route to a game-high 15 points and 14 rebounds, made two free throws before the Chipps went back to work.

A basket by Koncz, two free throws by Grace Lindquist (7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) and another steal and basket by Koncz tied it at 33-all. Koncz then connected on her only 3-pointer of the game after a free throw by Winnen to give Chippewa its first lead of the contest, and the Chipps — who outscored the Panthers 26-6 in the final 10-plus minutes — never relinquished it.

“We just kept telling each other, ‘We can do it, we can do it,’ ” Koncz said. “We kept gaining a little more confidence and we just knew we would get it back. We all just came together.”