Girls Basketball Tops Giants

Posted on November 8, 2017 in Girl's Basketball, Winter Sports

by Scott Hunt
Sophomore Taylor Westgate drives to the basket vs. Marion

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

If Tuesday evening’s girls basketball game between the Marion Giants and Oak Hill Golden Eagles showed anything, it’s there simply isn’t much separation between the Grant County rivals.
Oak Hill’s young team entered the 2017-18 season after making a run to the 2A state championship game. Marion, another very young team under first-year coach Lawrence Jordan, entered Tuesday’s matchup energized and growing in confidence with season-opening wins over Pendleton Heights and Harrison.
The Golden Eagles controlled play for most of the first half, despite having three starters in foul trouble and took a 26-12 advantage to halftime. Oak Hill did a good job in its half-court, match-up zone defense of limiting the Giants’ 6-6 sophomore Ra Shaya Kyle from getting good looks at the basket and kept her to just one point in the opening 16 minutes.
Meanwhile, Oak Hill’s Taylor Westgate scored 10 of her game-high 20 in the first half to help her team build its lead.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a four year battle with those two,” said Oak Hill coach Todd Law. “Both are competitive girls. I thought Taylor battled well. With our foul trouble it threw our normal rotation out the door and Taylor played an a lot of minutes tonight. It just proves our point, we condition an awful lot. We tell them you never know when you may have to go 30 minutes in a game and she did tonight and did a good job.”
After Jordan changed the Giants defenses up in to start the second half, Marion immediately got itself right back in the fight with a 16-2 run to pull even at 28-28 with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter.
“We changed to a 3-2 and a little bit of a 1-3-1 because (Westgate) was getting free quite a bit,” said Jordan. “So I just shifted the defense and let my little quicker guards create some problems out on the perimeter. It worked for awhile there and we got back into the game and then I think we got tired there towards the end.”
Del’Reann Horton started the Marion run with back-to-back 3-pointers before Kyle started to assert herself offensively. Kyle scored three straight baskets, and assisted on Jazmyn Turner’s only field goal of the game for the tying basket.
Though the Giants tied the game twice more in the third, at 30 and 32, Westgate’s only point of the quarter gave the Golden Eagles a 33-32 lead going into the final quarter.
Another Westgate free throw and her first field goal of the second half starting the fourth extended Oak Hill’s lead to 36-32, but Horton scored a deuce and free throw to pull Marion back within one.
Jenessa Hasty, one of the Golden Eagles saddled with foul trouble, connected on a 3-pointer with 4:40 to play before Kyle scored to keep make it 39-37 advantage Eagles. Oak Hill didn’t allow another point over the final-four plus minutes of the game to pull away with its hard-earned win.
With Hasty, Adrianna Trexler and Kaela Robey battling foul trouble, Law was ecstatic of the play he got from Brittany McCorkle, Auja Smith along with Marissa and Andrea Wilk off the Golden Eagles bench.
“It was huge tonight. What are bench did tonight against a team of that caliber is just nothing short of incredible,” Law said of his reserves. “They stepped up and not only maintained the lead, they extended it.”
Westgate pulled down 15 rebounds to go with her 20 points and was the only Oak Hill player in double figures scoring. Kristin Dubois added eight points, hitting a pair of three pointers, while Hasty and Robey finished with seven and six respectively.
The Giants were led by Kyle and Horton, each finishing with 12 points. Turner and Ellie Vermilion scored five points apiece.
After pulling down over 20 rebounds in each of the Giants opening victories, Kyle was limited to just eight and Oak Hill dominated the backboards, 36-19.
Jordan saw more positives out of the Giants, and was planning on watching the film of the game before practice to work on the areas of concern for Marion in today’s practice. Overall, he’s encouraged by the steps the Giants are taking.
“(Oak Hill is)very fundamentally sound. They had the defense sagging in on Ra Shaya and we didn’t adjust to it very well,” Jordan said.

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