Girls Basketball Wins Semi-State

Posted on February 17, 2019 in Girl's Basketball, Winter Sports

Girls Basketball

Girls Basketball Semi-State Champs

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com
LOGANSPORT — Defense wins championships, it’s as simple as that.

And Oak Hill’s suffocating, opportunistic defense has it back in the Class 2A state championship game for the second time in three years.

The No. 3 Golden Eagles used its matchup zone to frustrate and stifle previously unbeaten and No. 1 Central Noble on Saturday for the final three quarters to earn their trip back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a dominant, 53-36 win over the defending 2A champion Cougars.

“We locked them down,” stated succinctly Oak Hill coach Todd Law, who in his 15th year will lead the Golden Eagles to a state championship game for the fourth time in the last 11 seasons.

Oak Hill forced Central Noble into 18 turnovers and limited the Cougars to 16-of-39 (41percent) from the field.

Objective number one for the Eagles’ defense was slowing down senior Sydney Freeman, a Ball State-recruit that was averaging 18.4 points per game.

Freeman finished with 18 points but had to work for every single one. She hit 7-of-16 from the floor, but the 41-percent three-point shooter hit just 2-of-8 from long range.

Much of the harassing responsibility fell upon Oak Hill’s senior point guard Brittany McCorkle. After Freeman hit an uncontested, 26-foot triple less than a minute into the game, McCorkle became like Freeman’s shadow the rest of the day.

“My key was just to stay with her and not give her open threes. She’s a really good player and to be able to do that was just phenomenal,” McCorkle said. “She’s pretty quick and my goal was just to stay on her and not let get any open looks.”

Freeman scored seven points in the opening quarter and the Cougars held a slim 12-10 lead after eight minutes.

But the true lockdown took place in the second quarter and McCorkle made one of the biggest plays that swayed momentum in Oak Hill’s direction.

Central Noble scored the first two points of the second quarter to open their largest lead at 14-10 with 6:50 to play before halftime.

It would be more than three minutes before the Cougars would score again and Oak Hill scored six straight to take the lead at 16-14.

Central Noble tied it at 16 before Jenessa Hasty made a steal and layup the McCorkle stole the inbounds pass and scored another bucket and Oak Hill had a 20-16 lead with 2:21 to play in the half and it would not relinquish the lead again. Eight of Central Noble’s turnovers came in the second quarter.

The Golden Eagles recorded 11 steals, McCorkle finished with five and Hasty had three.

“She had two or three of those steals when they were inbounding that were in huge points of the game,” Law said of McCorkle. “We don’t have a player that didn’t play well today. If you can do that on this stage, that’s really saying something about your kids.”

It also says something about Oak Hill that leading scorer and rebounder Taylor Westgate picked up her second foul in the first minute of the second quarter and sat the rest of the half.

In Westgate’s absence, the Golden Eagles got important minutes from senior twin sisters Andrea and Marissa Wilk in the post and limited Cougars’ second leading scorer, senior Maleah Leatherman to zero points in the first half.

The Golden Eagles also took a 23-16 lead to halftime.

“So for all those people out there that don’t believe in me playing a bench and developing a bench, point made,” Law said assertively.

Oak Hill then started the second half with a 10-2 run to assume total control of the game at 33-18 with 2:33 remaining in the third.

Central Noble closed within eight late int he third but Oak Hill led 35-25 entering the final eight minutes.

Adrianna Trexler and Westgate then scored eight points between them in the first three minutes of the fourth to reestablish the Golden Eagles’ lead to 43-27.

Trexler was the only Oak Hill player in double figures and she scored 12 of her game-high 20 in the fourth quarter, including hitting all eight of her free throw attempts.

“We played as a unit and you can tell. It was fun basketball for all of us,” Trexler said. “I think that was the funnest game I’ve ever played with my team.

“Knowing our scouting report and knowing how to play people, that’s what finished it off,” she added.

Law also said the scouting report, preparation and execution of the game plan was the biggest factor of all on Saturday.

“We don’t normally have a whole week getting ready for a team. My coaching staff absolutely busted their tails helping us to get ready and prepare for this,” Law said. “Our kids knew their plays so well they were calling them out in our walk-through today.

“It’s really good we had them ready so we could just go out there and carry it out,” he added. “Obviously they did a great job of that.”

McCorkle finished with nine points for the Golden Eagles. Hasty and Westgate each chipped in with eight, Kaela Robey added six and Andrea Wilk had two.

Westgate pulled down a game-high nine boards, Trexler had six rebounds. Hasty led the Eagles with four assists and McCorkle had three helpers.

Sophomore Bridgette Gray had 10 points for Central Noble, Leatherman finished with eight.

“They’re a really good team but I knew if we came out and played our game we would win just like this,” McCorkle said. “When we get our mindset to something we just can’t be beat.”

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