Girls’ Basketball Falls Just Short At Wabash

Posted on December 15, 2011 in Girl's Basketball, Home, Winter Sports

By J.D. Sparks

Before Tuesday night’s game at Wabash, Head Coach Todd Law said his squad must accomplish two things if the Golden Eagles were to escape Coolman Gym with a win.

First, Oak Hill couldn’t allow an Apache role player to have a career night.

Freshman Claire Cromer scored a career-high 15 points.

Second, Oak Hill’s guards had to feed the post. The Apaches held Golden Eagle 6-foot-1 center Tiffany Petro to six points.

Needless to say, Wabash ended 2A No. 7 Oak Hill’s season-opening win streak at eight with a 52-33 victory.

“Our guards really struggled to get the ball inside against Wabash’s defense,” Law said after the game.

“We especially struggled in the first quarter. It was a frustrating night of offense.”

Meanwhile, after winning over 3A No. 17 Rochester Saturday, the Apaches knocked off its second-straight ranked opponent.

In each of these games, Claire Cromer, Kelsey Cromer and Kyleigh Hampton each scored in double figures.

“Balance always helps you,” Wabash Head Coach Scott Bumgardner said.

“Claire really got us out of jams in the first half. Kelsey and Kyleigh got going when we needed them to. I’m awfully proud of all the kids.”

Nine of Claire Cromer’s career game came in the first half. After the Golden Eagles registered the first two points of the contest on a pair of Shancy Larson free throws, the Apaches ended the quarter on an 11-2 run.

Claire Cromer scored six of those points.

Oak Hill’s other score came with 5:11 when Jessica Davenport hit from down low, putting Oak Hill up 4-2.

For the rest of the quarter, Wabash’s defense kept Oak Hill out of the post, forcing them into outside shots. The Golden Eagles were 0-for-3 from 3-point range during that span.

But, Apache foul trouble in the second frame put the Eagles back into the game.

The Eagles hit 5-of-6 from the charity stripe through the first four minutes of the second quarter. Sammi Metzger drained a triple with 2:45 to go to set the score at 16-14.

“We really played hard on defense,” Bumgardner said. “We just bailed them out and allowed them to score with the clock stopped, especially in the second quarter.”

As Wabash escaped into halftime up 21-18, the lead didn’t last long. Metzger hit another 3-pointer 52 seconds into the third to knot the score. She followed the long bomb with a steal turned layup to give Oak Hill a 24-23 lead.

“She played really well for us tonight,” said Law about Metzger, who led the Eagles with 14 points. “At times, she seemed like the only one scoring.”

Claire Cromer answered with a triple of her own. The two teams proceeded to trade buckets until a Petro basket gave Oak Hill its last lead of the game: 31-29 with 2:13 left in the third.

From there, Hampton hit a trey and Kelsey Cromer scored five-straight points to end the quarter, putting Wabash up 36-29.

“I thought if Kelsey could wear down their defenders with shot fakes, she could get some space in the later stages of the game,” Bumgardner said.

In fact, Kelsey Cromer scored 10 points in the third and went on to register a game-high 19 to go with two rebounds, two assists, a steal and two blocks.

The Apaches streak continued into the fourth as Wabash built a 44-31 lead with 3:31 left, holding Oak Hill to four fourth-quarter points. Wabash made 8-of-12 free throws to lock in the 52-33 victory.

Wabash (6-4) now set its sights on Three Rivers County opponent Northfield (2-6). The two play at Northfield at 7:45 p.m.

Oak Hill (8-1) hosts Frankton (4-4) Saturday. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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