Girls Basketball Uses Strong Second Half To Top Tigers

Posted on December 5, 2019 in Girl's Basketball, Winter Sports

by Trent Scott – tscott@perutribune.com

PERU – Oak Hill and Peru finally squared off Wednesday night after the early-season girls’ basketball meeting was delayed nearly a month due to the Tigers reaching the football sectional final.

A slow finish to the first half saw the Golden Eagles take a two-point lead into halftime but a 21-2 rout in the third quarter insured the Eagles a comfortable victory with a 50-30 win over the Tigers.

Oak Hill head coach Todd Law said his team had good starts to each half but needed to close the halves strong too.

“We played a really good first and third quarter and in the second and fourth quarter looked at the scoreboard and thought this was going to be easy,” Law said. “We didn’t finish in either parts of the halves.

“That’s a consistency thing we’re striving to get better at and we’re going to need to get better at that down the road.”

The game got off to a slow burn early as the Oak Hill held a 5-2 lead after over five minutes, scoring though a Taylor Westgate three-point play and Kate Hornocker basket while the Peru got a score from Kelsie Kelley.

Hornocker added a second three-point play with 3:14 left in the quarter, kick starting the action as Brianna Bennett hit a jumper for Peru, followed by a quick Oak Hill response when Carlee Biddle hit a three, Nikki Alston scored on a runner and Holly Gillespie added a free throw.

Biddle hit a second three that gave the Golden Eagles an 11-point lead to start the second quarter at 17-6 but the offense stalled from there as Westgate scored with 5:32 left in the half, the last points the visitors would put up before halftime.

By the break, the Tigers trimmed the gap to two after baskets from Courtlynn Crowe, Bennett and Jenna Watkins, bringing the score to 19-17 at the intermission.

“Our press turned them over a little bit, got us some easy baskets and some run outs,” Law said about the first half. “Our zone was a little bit better for the most part tonight.

“We’ve been switching defense up a little bit more this year rather than running our match-up defense the whole time as we’re trying to keep people off balance,” he added. “Overall, we executed on offense pretty well but we have some turnovers out front we need to eliminate.”

Oak Hill had used a three-quarter court press early in the game to good effect and adopted the same strategy to start the second half with vastly better offensive results paired with it.

Westgate started the second half with two free throws, followed by a Coleena Selleck three and another from Abby Shaw following a Cate Wolfe basket to make the score 27-19.

Unable to get the offense started, Peru watched as the Golden Eagles rolled through the remainder of the half as Westgate added a free throw and putback, Shaw hit her second three of the quarter, Hornocker notched a three-point play and a second basket, both on offensive rebounds, and a final Westgate strike that saw the visitors lead explode to 40-19.

“It helped spread them out,” Law said about moving back to the three-quarter court press to start the second half. “We were concerned about (Crowe) and her driving ability as she takes the ball to the hole so well.

“To her credit, we were playing that so hard we left her open for some jump shots, which she hit in the first half,” he continued. “She’s a good player and we did a much better job in the second half on her.”

The largest lead of the night came when Westgate connected on a short hook shot for a 42-19 advantage to start the fourth quarter before the Tigers finally found their offense again.

Bennett hit a long two while Emma Eldridge scored on a putback and Crowe connected on a jumper to make the score 42-25.

Shaw and Eldridge traded baskets while Westgate added the final of her game-high 16 points from close range. Wolfe hit a three to close the scoring for the hosts while Shaw added two from close range to finish off the 20-point win.

Following Westgate was Shaw with 12 points and Hornocker with 10 points for Oak Hill. Crowe led Peru with nine points while Wolfe had seven points and Bennett chipped in six points.

The Golden Eagles, now 6-3, host Elwood Friday in the second CIC game for Oak Hill and conference opener for the Panthers.

“That’s an important game for us,” Law said about hosting Elwood. “We need to play well if we want to keep pace in the conference.”

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