Girls Basketball Wins Third Sectional In A Row

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

BY JACOB RUDE – sports@wabashplaindealer.com
NORTH MANCHESTER – Calling Monday’s result a mere formality would be harsh to Oak Hill’s opponents in the three nights of sectional play at Manchester from Friday through Monday. But coming in as the lone ranked side in the field, the two-time defending champions and the heavy favorites, Monday’s result punctuated a dominant, if not expected, sectional run for the Eagles.

Oak Hill put forth its best defensive effort of the sectional that included a span of 15:30 with just one basket for the host Squires en route to a 48-16 win and the third-straight sectional title for Oak Hill.

“it’s pretty special,” Oak Hill head coach Todd Law said. “Winning one’s special and for a group of kids to win three in a row, it’s just quite an achievement. I thought we really played extremely well defensively basically the whole game tonight so I loved our consistency defensively. And then, we knew we had an advantage with some height and we wanted to make sure we limited them to one touch. I don’t know what it ended up in the second half but we didn’t have them for one offensive rebound in the first half. I thought we did a great job of contesting their shots and then limiting them to one.”

Manchester never challenged the Eagles as turnovers in each of the first nearly half-dozen possessions to open the game for Manchester allowed Oak Hill to score the first nine points of the game.

Manchester’s lone basket in the frame came at the 4:16 mark from Eva Bazzoni.

That one field goal, though, would be a trend for Manchester on the offensive end. Defensively, the Squires turned their focus toward the post and Oak Hill standout Taylor Westgate and away from guard Brittany McCorkle in particular, a defensive employed by the Squires in past meetings.

McCorkle made the Squires pay, knocking down a pair of early threes and finishing with a game-high 15 points on the night.

“I think tonight, we gave it everything we had,” Manchester head coach Jacob Everett said. “We played the defense we wanted to play. Brittany McCorkle hit some big shots early that we were going to give up and she was ready to play. Taking away Westgate down low was our main priority and I think we did an okay job at that. I think the game just continued to slow for us offensively where we couldn’t get the ball going. I think we had more turnovers than we had points and that’s just not a good recipe for success.

For Everett, in a game where his side had a heavy disadvantage down low, opting to leave McCorkle open to focus on the interior was a necessary risk, even if it backfired on the night.

“We were only down because Brittany hit those shots,” he said. “And she’s a player. She hit the shots when she needed to and that’s what you expect out of your players. And so, it’s no disrespect to her at all. We just wanted to limit the post touches and we felt like that was the way we could do. So, she hit those big shots and offensively for us, we weren’t able to get the ball going in the offense. We kind of sputtered from then on.”

Manchester’s leading scorer on the season Kennedy Fierstos opened the second period with a three-pointer 30 seconds into the frame to cut the deficit to 11-5. However, that would be the start of the defining stretch of the game for Oak Hill.

The Eagles would clamp down defensively, blanking the Squires the rest of the period while upping the margin to 20-5 on baskets from Adrianna Trexler, Taylor Westgate and Andrea Wilk, the last of those a three-point play. A pair of free throws from Trexler ended the scoring in the frame and gave the Eagles a 20-5 halftime advantage.

Kaela Robey and McCorkle opened the second half with the first five points to move ahead 25-5 before a layup from Jirni Cripe for the Squires. Again, though, Manchester would be limited to one basket in the frame as Oak Hill scored the ensuing 15 points to put the game to rest.

McCorkle scored seven-straight points before Westgate, Trexler and Robey took over from there, putting the Eagles up 40-7 by the end of the third period. After scoring 20 points in the first half, Oak Hill doubled their tally in the third period alone, putting the game to rest.

“We talked about that coming out of the gate,” Law said. “You have a choice there. You’re either going to let them back in it or we go out and we move this thing out and take total control of the game and the kids did that. Came out really focused, I thought, to try to extend that lead.”

The fourth quarter did play out as a formality with Manchester scoring nine points, the only quarter on the night the Squires connected on more than one field goal.

McCorkle’s 15 points were a game-high on the night while Trexler and Robey joined her in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively. Westgate added six in the win. For Manchester, Fierstos had five, Bazzoni added four and Emma West three.

“You’re going to have ups and downs offensively and we showed that again tonight a little bit there in that late first quarter, early second quarter,” Law said. “But if you defend really well and you rebound well, you can survive those times. We’re just very blessed to have some kids that can play really well defensively. Like I said, I just really liked our effort tonight.”

Manchester finishes the season with a 17-8 record. Oak Hill (21-3) advances to the regional at Eastern where they will meet Lafayette Central Catholic.

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