Oak Hill Girls Basketball Captures State Championship

Posted on February 26, 2019 in Girl's Basketball, Winter Sports

State Champs

2019 Girls Basketball State Champs

By CHUCK LANDIS – clandis@chronicle-tribune.com
INDIANAPOLIS — When Oak Hill played Winchester in a regular season girls’ basketball game, Golden Eagles guard Brittany McCorkle did not score a point.

As a result, McCorkle wasn’t exactly a defensive priority for the Falcons in Saturday afternoon’s Class 2A state finals rematch in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They would come to regret it.

McCorkle’s 18-point performance helped rally the third-ranked Eagles in the second half to a 54-42 over No. 4 Winchester for the school’s first state championship. Kaela Robey, another overlooked player, finished with a game-high 20 points and helped her team overcome a nine-point deficit midway through the third quarter.

Oak Hill was runners-up in 2008-09 and ’17 and the state title was part of a magical day for the athletic program. A few blocks away at the IUPUI Natatorium, Eagles diver Caiden Lake captured a state title on the 1-meter board, and guard Jenessa Hasty received the top individual honor, the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award, during the postgame festivities.

“This has been a goal of ours for a long time, since fourth grade,” said McCorkle, who was a member of the 2017 team. “We had to go get it this time.”

McCorkle came into the championship game averaging 5.4 points a game and had a quiet first half like the rest of her team. Winchester ended the first half on a 10-4 run for a 23-15 halftime advantage and twice extended it to a game-high nine points in the third quarter, the last at 32-23.

At that point McCorkle took over and scored 14 points in the third quarter on 6-of-8 shooting including a pair of 3-pointers on four attempts. The Eagles ended the third on a 11-2 run that trimmed Winchester’s lead to a single point, 35-34, heading into the final eight minutes.

“We went to Purdue University (Friday) to practice and I was shooting well there,” McCorkle said. “I had the confidence coming into the game because (Winchester) was going to a triangle-and-two (defense) but we weren’t sure who they were going to triangle-and-two.”

Winchester chose to focus its defensive attention on Oak Hill leading scorers Taylor Westgate and Adrianna Trexler, who each collected 18 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting Nov. 24 that the Eagles won, 59-39. Westgate was covered like a blanket around the basket and scored six points, and the Falcons had a chaser following Trexler all around the court and she scored six points and was 0-of-5 from the field.

“Since they concentrated on Taylor I knew I had to step up and make some shots,” McCorkle said. “I have confidence I can shoot it it — it’s just matter if I believe I can do it.”

The fourth quarter was Robey time and the senior forward scored 12 points on a series of drives to the basket and mid-range jump shots. Robey is the Eagles’ No. 3 scorer at 8.4 points a game.

Robey’s steal and layup just 36 seconds into the fourth gave Oak Hill its first lead since the first quarter, and then McCorkle stripped the ball from a Winchester guard at mid-court and scored a layup for a 38-35 advantage.

“I was just getting nervous and you gotta do what you gotta do,” Robey said of the game situation. “And if everybody else was getting face-guarded — Adrianna was getting face-guarded, Taylor was getting face-guarded — then somebody’s got to do it.

“I looked into myself to go out there and push myself a lot harder,” she added.

Maddie Lawrence, who led Winchester with 20 points, tied at 38-all it with a three-point play with 6:18 to play and drew McCorkle’s fourth personal foul. But Robey answered with back-to-back baskets, a driving layup and short-range jumper, and went in front to stay at 42-38 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.

Westgate then scored her only basket of the second half on a nifty up-and-under move that extended the advantage to 44-38, only to have Winchester’s Hannah Graft connect on her third 3-pointer of the game to made it a one-possession game.

Yet, Winchester would score only one more point over the final three minutes while layups from Hasty and Robey put the Eagles further in control at 48-42 with 2:35 to play. And despite some struggles at the foul line (6-of-12) the Eagles would continue to pull away down the stretch.

Winchester coach Holly Gutierrez was intent on preventing Westgate and Trexler from taking over the game once again and threw a new wrinkle in their standard defense with the chaser on Trexler. But the Falcons left a lot of area on the perimeter uncovered that McCorkle and Robey were able to exploit.

“(McCorkle) hit shots when she needed to and I wasn’t shocked about it,” Gutierrez said. “We weren’t sure she could do it. We’ve lived on (the triangle-and-two) all year. My bigs don’t play the best man-to-man and it’s what we’ve thrived on until today.

“I still don’t think it was our defense that killed us, it was our offense,” she added.

Winchester shot just 30 percent from the floor (14-of-47) and struggled even more behind the 3-point arc at 14 percent (3-of-22). Then there was turnovers, 16 of them compared to Oak Hill’s six, and Gutierrez termed them the biggest factors in the Falcons’ loss.

“All year long we’ve been an excellent 3-point shooting team and I didn’t realize we’d shot that many today,” Gutierrez said. “We shot 10 percent from the 3-point line, and that was a huge factor in our game as well as turnovers … (Oak Hill) scored 16 points off our turnovers, and that tells the story to why the score went the way it was.”

Oak Hill had shot just 20 percent (6-of-30) in the first half but completely turned it at 77 percent (7-of-9) over the final 8 minutes.

“One thing we went to in the second half was our base zone offense, which has a lot more movement to it,” Oak Hill coach Todd Law said. “It’s not a good offense to run against (triangle-and-two), but I was just trying to get us moving and it got our cutters going and it got people moving.

“I knew we were more athletic than them and if we could get in that situation and get some ball movement and spread them out a bit then we would have chances to drive to the basket,” he added.

The state title is the third for an Oak Hill team and comes less than one year after the boys’ basketball title won a 2A title. Oak Hill also captured the Class A state football title in 1982.

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