Petty, Fleak lead Big Walnut past Mt. Vernon 49-36 in OCC clash
By GARY HENERY
News Manafging Editor
In a game of scoring runs, the Golden Eagles put together the one that counted.
Junior post Sara Petty led a 10–2 early fourth-quarter run that carried Big Walnut to 49–36 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over Mount Vernon on Senior Parents Night Friday in Sunbury.
Bob Scott’s Golden Eagles, who never trailed in the contest, took a 33–28 into the final 8 minutes against the fast-closing Yellow Jackets who closed the third period with an 11–5 run to wipe out a 28–17 deficit and pull within 5 of the lead.
That’s when Petty took over. Petty came off the bench to start the final period and scored all four of Big Walnut’s (12–7, 6–6 OCC) baskets. She ignited the run with a fast-break layin and followed with a pair of layups off inbound passes before capping the spree with a short jumper to give the Golden Eagles a 43–30 lead with 4:16 to play, matching the host’s biggest lead of the night, a 24–17 advantage on a basket by junior Skylar Fleak with 48 seconds into the second period.
Mount Vernon (11–7, 5–6 OCC), pressuring Big Walnut into four successive turnovers, would close to within 7 of the lead at 43–36 on junior Sierra Basista’s basket with 2:48 to play, but that would prove to be the Yellow Jackets’ last points of the game. The Golden Eagles closed out the game with a 6–0 run on a Fleak layin off a break and four free throws by senior Stephanie Adkins.
“We played together as a team, both offensively and defensively,” Scott said. “We worked for good shots against an aggressive Mount Vernon defense, and when we got open we took advantage of our opportunities.”
Big Walnut was 5-for-7 from the field in the final period while converting 6 of its 7 free throw attempts. The Golden Eagle run was aided by a technical foul on Mount Vernon coach Joe Rucker. The technical resulted in two free throws by senior Samantha Klinedinst and an ensuing basket by Petty to give BW a 39–28 lead with 6:09 remaining.
Fleak paced Big Walnut with game-highs of 12 points and 8 rebounds. Petty followed Fleak in double figures with 11 points. Senior Emily Chucta followed with 8 while sophomore Makenna Hammond and Klinedinst contributed 7 points apiece.
“Sara and Skylar did a nice job inside against a good Mount Vernon’s defense,” Scott noted. “Overall, I thought our offense did a nice job.”
Big Walnut shot 50 percent (17-for-34) for the game while making good on 13 of 18 (72.2 percent) free throws. While the Golden Eagles claimed a 32–27 edge off the glass, they offset that margin by turning the ball over 27 times against the Yellow Jacket press.
Sophomore Rachel Parks paced the Yellow Jackets with 11 points followed by Basista with 14 points. Sophomore Sammy Cunningham added 9 points while pulling down a team-high 5 rebounds.
“Defensively, we were pretty consistent, especially in the fourth quarter when we held Mount Vernon to 8 points,” Scott said.
Scott was backed by the Yellow Jackets’ fourth-quarter stats. Mount Vernon was 2-for-13 (15.4 percent) from the field while turning the ball over 8 times and losing the battle of the boards to the Golden Eagles by a 10 to 5 margin.
Mount Vernon shot 25.5 percent (12-for-47) for the game, adding 9 of 11 (81.8 percent) free throws. The Yellow Jackets committed a total of 25 turnovers.
With the win, Big Walnut swept the season series with Mount Vernon. The Golden Eagles rallied for 24 points in the fouth quarter to edge the Yellow Jackets 43–37 on December 21 at Mount Vernon.
Big Walnut returned to action Tuesday, traveling to New Albany for a OCC matchup with the host Eagles.
BIG WALNUT 39, WATKINS MEMORIAL 31 — The Golden Eagles, coming off a tough conference road loss at Delaware Hayes, responded with a solid road win last Tuesday night (January 29) over the host Warriors at Pataskala.
Clinging to a 24–22 lead entering the fourth quarter, Big Walnut responded by outscoring Watkins Memorial 15–9 over the final eight minutes to post the 8-point Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory.
Big Walnut (11–7, 5–6 OCC) was led by the double-figure point production of senior Emily Chucta, who led all scorers with 12 points, and sophomore Makenna Hammond, who followed with 10 points. junior Skylar Fleak and senior Stephanie Adkins followed with 6 and 5 points, respectively.
Watkins Memorial (4–13, 1–9 OCC) was led by senior point guard Lou Nickel who was the lone Warrior in double figures with 10 points.