Defense the ultimate savior in win
by Emily Scott
After the tough loss to Sullivan last Thursday, the Okaw Valley girls’ basketball team was ready to get a win, and on Monday they were able to do just that.
Though a hard-fought game, the Lady T-Wolves pulled out a close 44-38 victory against the Meridian Lady Hawks.
OV came out shooting and working to beat Meridian’s initial press. They soon realized that Meridian’s 6’1” junior Maggie Comerford would be tough to beat in the paint. With solid passing and timely shots, OV was able to establish a lead they would maintain for the majority of the game.
But what really set the Lady T-Wolves apart from their opponent was their defense.
“That was a huge factor to getting this win,” said OV head coach Don Gardner.
Their defense improved over the course of the first half and throughout the rest of the game with Meridian unable to get off many shots. OV finished the first half with a 21-14 lead.
The Lady Hawks started out the second half with a new intensity, however, that showed in their scoring, going on a quick six-point run to gain the lead with two back-to-back three pointers from Kelly and Amy Aukamp. After a timeout, OV senior Mollee Decesaro quickly came back with a three pointer, and later, junior Paige Harlin made a three to tie the game at 29.
Going into the fourth quarter after being shook up by Meridian, Gardner wanted to see his team recapture their previous momentum.
To do this, OV began running a full court press that succeeded in frustrating the Lady Hawks. Coupled with solid shooting, OV managed to secure the win.
“I thought we had a good chance of winning coming into this game,” said Gardner. “Coming off of the Sullivan loss, we were discouraged, and we wanted to prove that we are a better team than that, and tonight we did.”
Gardner thought his team’s conditioning, press, and defense helped them win, in particular.
“Our press was effective, and they had trouble with it all night,” he said. “Our defensive intensity was phenomenal the whole game.”
“We really improved on our defense which is something we’ve been working on in practice,” said OV senior guard Abigail Weybright.
Gardner said he was impressed with his guards’ gameplay and their ability to control the ball. He also said he thought Megan Dash and Amanda McClain did a great job of shutting down Meridian’s Comerford in the paint.
“We still need to work on our offense,” Gardner said, referring to the difficulties they had dealing with Meridian’s 3-2 zone. “That’s something we will work on simulating in practice to improve on that.”
OV’s record is now 2-1. They play LSA next at home December 2.
OV: A. Weybright:3-0-7, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal; M. Decesaro: 2-3-8, 1 rebound, 2 steals; A. McClain: 2-1-5, 10 rebounds, 1 block; S. Dash: 1-2-4, 1 rebound; P. Harlin: 3-0-7, 1 rebound; A. Orris: 1-0-3, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks; K. Herold: 0-2-2, 5 rebounds; S. Birch: 1-0-2, 1 rebound; B. Monroe: 3-0-6, 1 rebound; M. Dash: 6 rebounds, 4 blocks.