Big Walnut gets back on track

Snaps 3-game skid with 52-40 win over Orange

By Michael Rich - For the Gazette

Big Walnut’s Katie Cochran is defended by Olentangy Orange’s Aurelia Johnson during the first half of Tuesday’s (Dec. 19) non-league showdown in Lewis Center.

Big Walnut’s Katie Cochran is defended by Olentangy Orange’s Aurelia Johnson during the first half of Tuesday’s (Dec. 19) non-league showdown in Lewis Center.

Ben Stroup | Gazette


Delaware Hayes 39, Dublin Scioto 34.

Big Walnut 52, Orange 40

The Big Walnut girls basketball team used a 10-1 run in the first quarter to take the lead and a 7-0 run in the second quarter to take control on its way to a 52-40 victory at Olentangy Orange in non-league action Tuesday night (Dec. 19) in Lewis Center.

Senior Katie Cochran had 15 points and 14 rebounds and Avery Schone came off the bench and scored 14 points and dished out eight assists to lead the Golden Eagles (5-3), who snapped a three-game losing streak.

“It’s her third or fourth double-double of the year,” BW coach Jason Crawford said. “It’s an effort stat. She does a great job of never taking a play off or a possession off. She’s going after every rebound on every play.”

“I’m really good at being able to know where a ball is going when it hits the rim,” Cochran said about her rebounding. “I think my body type – it’s easy to slip through girls and steal those rebounds.”

Cochran, a post player for BW in the past, has taken to playing the wing this season like a fish to water. She’s tall and slender, standing at 5-foot-11. She can post up smaller players and use her speed to beat bigger opponents.

“I like it a lot because it forces mismatches,” she said. “I’ve worked a lot on my three-game over the summer. Just doing that, I think, really helped.”

Six players had first-quarter baskets for BW in a balanced first-half attack. Schone’s basket started a 10-1 run and Abby Facemyer, Rylee Bussen, Cochran and Erin Boehm followed as the Eagles built a 12-5 lead at the end of one.

“We had three tough losses in a row and (we’re) trying to battle back and stick together as a team through those times and adversity,” Crawford said. “We came out tonight and had a lot of intensity and a lot of energy.”

McKenna Ford buried a pair of three pointers around a pair of Cochran baskets and then found Aurelia Johnson for a layup underneath as the Pioneers got it as close as 16-13 with 3:27 left in the first half.

But, BW followed up with a 7-0 run to push the lead back to 10 and led 23-14 at the break.

BW pushed the lead as high as 17 in the fourth quarter before a Madi Felchin three-pointer helped the Pioneers close the gap.

Ford led the Pioneers (1-6) with 17 points on the strength of four threes and Riley Duffy hit two more and finished with eight points in the loss – Orange’s fifth straight.

“That was probably a career high for Riley and she stepped up,” Orange coach Bob Scott said. “McKenna came out and hit some (shots) early in the game. She was the only reason we were still in the game in the first half. That’s what we need from her and, not just her, but other kids.”

Johnson left the game in the second quarter with an apparent left knee injury. It’s another tough loss for the Pioneers on the injury front. Senior Alyssa Feeley has been battling a back injury as well and did not play in Tuesday’s game.

“Our effort was really good tonight. Alyssa Feeley is out for a while and we don’t know for sure when she’ll be back – maybe soon, maybe later – I don’t know,” Scott said. “We need some other kids to step up.”

Both teams are back in league action next. BW hosts Newark in OCC-Capital play Thursday night (Dec. 21) at 7:30 p.m. and Orange visits Westerville South in OCC-Buckeye play Friday night (Dec. 22) at 7:30 p.m.

Newark 63, Big Walnut 44

The Golden Eagles never quite got going Thursday night (Dec. 21), falling behind 18-4 by the end of the first quarter and 42-14 by the break on the way to an OCC-Capital Division loss to the visiting Wildcats.

Big Walnut (5-4, 1-3) started the second half with a bit of a surge, outscoring Newark (7-0, 4-0) 19-7 in the third, but couldn’t maintain the momentum in the fourth.

Katie Cochran led the Eagles with 10 points while Erin Boehm finished with eight and Avery Schone and Paige Norman chipped in six apiece.

Newark’s Morgan Sharps, meanwhile, led all scorers with 23 points.

Big Walnut returns to action Dec. 22 against host Johnstown.

Buckeye Valley 67, Johnstown-Monroe 25

Confidence can be a powerful thing and the Buckeye Valley girls basketball team is feeling real good right now.

A couple of days after the Barons picked up their first win over MOAC rival North Union since 2007, they dominated Johnstown-Monroe 67-25 in non-league action Thursday night (Dec. 21) in Delaware.

“It’s good for us to go into break with a good vibe in our program,” BV coach Travis Stout said. “We got a big win Tuesday and a big win tonight. We’re 6-4 overall and 2-3 in the MOAC. I think we’re happy with where we’re at.”

Senior Lisa Leienberger had a big night for the Barons, scoring 14 points and adding five steals. She had two free throws and a put-back in the early going of a 20-0 first quarter.

“It really showed us how far we’ve come – I’m really proud of us,” Leienberger said. “After Tuesday – we (felt like) we need to keep this going and we came out fast.”

“She’s one of those players that has gotten better as the season has gone on,” Stout said. “She’s one of the top five or six in the MOAC in steals. She’s a great defensive player. She always guards one of the other team’s best two players. And she’s really developed an offensive game too.”

The Johnnies finally got on the board at the 7:46 mark of the second quarter on a pair of Ashley Abner free throws.

But, the Baron defense was stifling. They held Johnstown without a field goal until Lauren Layman’s three-pointer with about 38 seconds left before the half. By that point, BV had built a 36-5 lead.

“We always have a game plan … and we took them out of everything they were trying to do,” Stout said. “It’s always good when you can do that.”

Morgan Scowden finished with a game-high 17 points, Tess Hughes added nine points and 12 rebounds and Dani Grether chipped in eight points for the Barons.

“We haven’t lost a rebounding battle yet … and that was one of the goals the team has set,” Stout said.

Lauren Hursey finished with six points to lead the Johnnies (3-5) and Abner and Layman added five apiece.

BV is off until Jan. 3 when it travels to Hebron Lakewood in non-league play, scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip.

Buckeye Valley 40, North Union 38

Senior Tess Hughes may have only scored two points, but it was the points she kept off the board that proved to be the difference in the game as the Buckeye Valley girls basketball team clipped host North Union 40-38 Tuesday night (Dec. 19).

“Our defense won us that game,” BV coach Travis Stout said. “We only gave up 13 points in the first half and held them to seven in the fourth. We were up 39-38 and Tess took a charge on what would’ve been the go-ahead basket — Taylor Day made a runner in the lane — but Tess stepped in and wiped it out.”

Morgan Scowden then split a pair of free throws at the other end to account for the final margin.

“This was one of those games that makes you proud as a coach,” Stout said. “Not many teams go up there and get a win, but the girls played hard and executed the game plan. Buckeye Valley hasn’t knocked off North Union in girls basketball for a very, very long time, so this was huge.”

Buckeye Valley (5-4, 3-2) ended both halves well, outscoring North Union (5-2, 3-2) 18-7 in the second and 11-7 in the fourth. They trailed going into both quarters.

Hannah Cowan led BV with 12 points while Scowden finished with 10.

Day and Madison Ruhl had 11 points apiece for the Wildcats.

The Barons return to action Thursday (Dec. 21) against visiting Johnstown.

Liberty 75, Marysville 43

Liberty turned defense into offense in the second half of Tuesday’s (Dec. 19) non-league showdown against host Marysville, outscoring the Monarchs by a combined 54-29 margin in the third and fourth quarters.

The Patriots led 21-14 at the half.

Emma Humenay led Liberty (4-2) with 22 points. Sydney Englehart and Gina Santangelo were also solid, finishing with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Next up, the Patriots will host Westerville North Friday (Dec. 22) at 7:30 p.m.

Thomas Worthington 56, Delaware Hayes 42

The Pacers (3-3, 0-3) hung around for most of the game, but the visiting Cardinals (5-0, 4-0) put it out of reach with a 22-11 fourth quarter Tuesday (Dec. 19) in Delaware.

Alexis Amabile led Hayes with 16 points.

Big Walnut’s Katie Cochran is defended by Olentangy Orange’s Aurelia Johnson during the first half of Tuesday’s (Dec. 19) non-league showdown in Lewis Center. Walnut’s Katie Cochran is defended by Olentangy Orange’s Aurelia Johnson during the first half of Tuesday’s (Dec. 19) non-league showdown in Lewis Center. Ben Stroup | Gazette
Snaps 3-game skid with 52-40 win over Orange

By Michael Rich

For the Gazette


Delaware Hayes 39, Dublin Scioto 34.

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at