Lady Braves cruise past Golden Eagles, 68-28
By ERIC CLINE
For The Sunbury News
Olentangy girls head coach John Feasel made it a point after last Tuesday’s (December 4) non-league game against Granville to get the defensive effort started early in their Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division home meeting with Big Walnut.
The Braves forced 10 first-quarter turnovers and held the Golden Eagles to just 9 shots and 2 points in the period before finishing with a resounding 68–28 victory Friday night at Olentangy High School.
But even better, the Olentangy (4–0, 2–0 OCC Capital) win was the 100th victory in Feasel’s career and comes nearly nine years after recording his first career win — also at home against Big Walnut (2–1, 1–1) — on December 30, 2003.
“All credit to the girls,” Feasel said. “The girls played great, and that’s come to be expected here at Olentangy. It was good to watch.”
“I told our girls after the game not to feel too bad,” Big Walnut head coach Bob Scott, himself a member of the 100-win club, said. “Olentangy is probably one of the top five teams in the Central District and might be one of the top 10 teams in the state. We just got beat by a very good team.”
The defense got things started. Olentangy didn’t score until the 5:39 mark of the first quarter, but still opened by scoring the first 14 points of the period, thanks to the defense.
“Defensively, we were stellar tonight,” Feasel said. “I think it was a combination of defensive pressure and, I think, we confused them a little, and that was the game plan. I wish we could have scored a little more in the first quarter, but overall, when you hold them to 9 points, that’s a good first half.”
“We only had 18 shots in the first half,” Scott said. “We didn’t get many shots at all, and our kids hadn’t seen them play. We (the coaches) had seen them play, we know how they run and we know how their post players are; they’re good.”
The turnovers were the most important part. Big Walnut had trouble getting any offensive rhythm in the opening period after the 10 first-period miscues. The Golden Eagles finished with 28 turnovers on the night, had just 39 shots total in the game, and did not score until senior wing Emily Chucta hit in jumper in the key with 11 seconds left in the opening quarter.
“I think our pressure creating those turnovers was important,” Feasel said. “We need the ball to be able to score. Our goal is to get shots on every possession.”
The Braves certainly had more chances to score than Big Walnut. After their 14–2 first quarter, Olentangy outscored the Golden Eagles 17–7 and led 31–9 at the break, then scored 25 points in the third quarter to Big Walnut’s 9, taking a 56–18 lead into the final period.
Freshman wing Kelly Meade had the best game of her career so far, finishing with a game-high 21 points off the bench, including all three of the Braves’ 3-point goals, adding 3 rebounds and an assist.
“Kelly’s starting to play and feel more comfortable, and we’re going to need that,” Feasel said. “I look at Brooke Zwayer sitting on the bench and realize the best thing happening right now is we’re getting confidence from everyone else, and when Brooke comes back, that’s eight kids we have that can really play and score.”
“Kelly is a good player,” Scott said. “Sometimes she was making shots when we couldn’t play any better defense. We had a hand in her face and she’s still making shots, and when they get on a roll like that, there’s not a lot you can do to stop it.”
Senior post Megan Beidelman added 16 points and 8 rebounds while seniors Lydia Hyburg and Katie Heath had 10 points apiece, Hyburg adding 5 rebounds and an assist and Heath contributing 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Sophomore Morgan Horvath also had a solid game with 5 points, 5 boards and a game-high 7 assists.
Sophomore Makenna Hammond topped the Golden Eagles with 10 points off the bench, including the team’s three 3-pointers. Junior post Skylar Fleak added 8 points, a game-high 11 rebounds and 2 assists, Chucta finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, and junior Hannah Seawell had 4 points for Big Walnut.
BIG WALNUT 49, LICKING HEIGHTS 29 — The Golden Eagles found their defensive form after surrendering 17 first quarter points to the visiting Hornets, allowing just 12 points the rest of the way en route to last Tuesday’s 20-point non-conference decision over Licking Heights.
Down 17–9 after one, the Golden Eagles (2–0) outscored the Hornets 8–2 in the second quarter to close the deficit to 19–17 at the intermission. Bob Scott’s re-energized squad came back and outscored Licking Heights 32–10 in the second half, 11–4 in the third and 21–6 in the fourth, for BW’s second victory of the young season.
Junior post Skylar Fleak led the way for the Golden Eagles with 12 points and eight rebounds in the win. Senior guard Samantha Klinedinst followed Fleak in double figures with 10 points while junior post Sara Petty followed with 9 points.