ATHENS -- Taylor Hale's 3-pointer with 23 seconds left in overtime sent the Oak Hill Lady Oaks to its fourth consecutive regional tournament as they defeated Zane Trace 39-38 to win the Division III girls high school basketball district tournament on Saturday at the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University.
"I was just praying it would go in," Hale said. "I was open and it felt good. Anyone on our team would have hit that shot. It just happened to be me this time."
Hale's heroics were made possible after Kelsey Dunkle canned a 3-pointer for Zane Trace (17-6) to give her squad a 38-36 lead in overtime with 58 seconds left in overtime.
"I was thinking, that was the first shot she had hit all day," Oak Hill Coach Doug Hale said. "That was big shot. But we came down and matched it."
The Lady Oaks (22-0) found themselves offensively out of sync in the first half, and trailed by two at the end of the first period.
"Zane Trace's defense caused some problems for us at first," Hale said. "But we went in and figured it out."
The Lady Oaks not only struggled to find shots, but also struggled emotionally, as Kelsey Butler was called for an intentional foul, and a technical foul with 3:14 to play in the half.
"That was a big part of the game," Hale said. "That forced us to focus more at half time. Kelsey came out and played really well in the second half. I was proud of her."
Zane Trace came out in the third quarter and grabbed a 29-23 lead after Haley Carle hit a jumper with 1:54 to play in the quarter.
But Breanna Butler answered for Oak Hill, and made a bucket inside, then drove past defenders and hit a pull- up jumper to tie the game 29-29 at the end of the period.
"We had to pull together as a team, because we could not win unless we all played together," Butler said. "This was a great game and I'm so happy to win, and I'm so happy for Taylor because she's my best friend."
Butler finished with 17 points for Oak Hill while Hale added 12.
Zane Trace tried to slow the pace down and run time off the clock in the final period. But that also worked into Hale's plan.
"Our motto is defend to win," Hale said. "We have to play good defense to win and we did that."
Defensively, Oak Hill limited Zane Trace to six points in the fourth quarter, and three in overtime.
"We have been taught and coached to play tough defense," Miquel Strite said. "I think in the first half we just had some jitters. But we played through it and got the win."
Zane Trace -- 7 11 11 6 3 -- 38
Oak Hill --- 9 7 13 6 4 -- 39
Zane Trace -- Carle 2 0 5, Sigman 5 6 16, Dunkle 1 0 3, Dailey 2 7 11, Wright 1 1 3.
Oak Hill -- Burton 1 2 4, Hale 4 3 12, Butler 4 8 17, Roseberry 1 0 2, Strite 1 2 4.
3-pointers -- Zane Trace 2 (Carle, Dunkle) Oak Hill 2 (Hale, Butler.)