Olentangy Orange went on a 19-6 run bridging the second and third quarters to overtake host Big Walnut 63-49 in OCC-Capital Division action Jan. 6 in Sunbury.
“We knocked shots down,” Orange coach Bob Scott said. “The key to this group of kids is that you can actually run offense and be patient. You don’t have to make one pass and shoot … and that was the difference.”
McKenna Ford hit two three-pointers during the big run and Lena Mancini’s basket pushed the lead to 11 in the third quarter.
“I think it helped boost our confidence,” she said. “The passing was a lot better and we all worked as a team.”
“She shot the ball well tonight,” Scott said. “We had some kids shoot the ball well. That’s the difference — if we make shots. If we don’t, we struggle.”
Big Walnut kept chipping away at the Orange lead, however, pulling to within four after a 9-2 run, seven of which came at the free throw line.
“In the fourth quarter, we knew that they were in foul trouble,” Eagles assistant coach Gary Miller said. “We just spread the court and started taking the ball to the basket and that worked for a little bit.”
Schae Lilley’s layup ended the run with about 5:30 left in the game, which started a 15-4 run the Pioneers used to close it out.
“We made foul shots at the end and that was huge, too,” Scott said.
Lilly and Bree McCague hit threes on back-to-back possessions to help the Pioneers build a 24-17 lead in the second quarter — the largest lead at the time for either team.
Stacey Walters found a spot on the right wing and hit threes on consecutive possessions for the Golden Eagles, both assisted by Kelly Kreager.
“I wasn’t quite happy with our defense, especially on the perimeter — we gave up too many threes,” Scott said. “We talked about that at halftime and we did a better job of playing defense in the second half even though we fouled a lot.”
Kreager then found the bottom of the net on a three from the left wing to give Big Walnut a 29-27 lead with 1:26 left in the half. She led all scorers with 22 points.
“(Kreager) played under control very well tonight,” Miller said. “(She) knocked down some big three-pointers, drove to the basket well — it was a big step-up game for her. We’ve asked her to be more under control and take good shots and she did that very well (Wednesday).”
Orange closed the half strong, thanks to Ford’s first three-pointer, which was sandwiched between four made free throws by Lilley and Ally Cummings. Cummings hit her free throws with no time left on the first half clock. The Pioneers led 36-31 at the break.
“We scored (36) points in the first half, so we made some shots … we got out in transition a little bit,” Scott said.
Big Walnut 57,
Franklin Heights 37
The Golden Eagles got back to their winning ways Friday, scoring 21 first-quarter points on the way to a convincing OCC-Capital Division win over host Franklin Heights.
Big Walnut (7-7, 3-5 OCC) led 38-22 at halftime before outscoring Franklin Heights (0-13, 0-8 OCC) 13-8 in the third to all but seal the deal.
Kelsie Imertreijs led the Eagles with 15 points in the win while Ellie Jindra finished with 13. Kreager was also solid, closing with 10 points.
The Olentangy Orange boys basketball team continued its solid season, rolling past visiting Big Walnut 61-33 in OCC-Capital Division action Jan. 5 in Lewis Center.
Colin Shepherd led the charge with 17 points to go with three steals. Evan Lewis was also solid, finishing with 12 points and three boards, while Grant Gossard closed with eight points and nine rebounds for the Pioneers.
Kaleb Phillips led Big Walnut with 11 points.
Big Walnut 49,
Franklin Heights 47
Austin Becker poured in 15 points, including the game-winner in the final seconds as Big Walnut rallied for a league win over visiting Franklin Heights Friday in Sunbury.
The Golden Eagles (3-11, 1-6 OCC) outscored the Falcons 16-4 in the second after falling behind 16-9 in the first.
Zac Chucta backed Becker with 11 points in the win.
Reporter Michael Rich and Delaware Gazette sports editor Ben Stroup contributed to this report.