NEW BOSTON — The game of basketball is often referred to as a game of runs.
Trailing the visiting Green Lady Bobcats 40-37 entering the fourth quarter, the New Boston Lady Tigers used the biggest run in Scioto County girls basketball so far this season — a 33-10 margin over Green (4-2, 3-1 SOC I) in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division I game — to secure a 70-50 win and improve to 6-1 (4-0 SOC I) on the season.
“If we could have that defense in every quarter that would be great,” a facetious New Boston coach Kayla Wiley said following the win. “I think we focused more. They knew going into the fourth quarter that we were down, they started paying attention to the little things because they wanted to win the ball game.”
“We didn’t do a good job of handling their pressure tonight,” Green coach Melissa Knapp said. “Which is odd because no one’s been able to press us, up until now. I think we had some kids panic, maybe the inexperience of being in big games was part of it. Our rebounding situation is something we also have to fix. Thirty-three points in a quarter is hard to overcome.”
Hard to overcome indeed.
While the Lady Tigers’ defense as a whole made the plays it needed to hold the Lady Bobcats to just 10 points in the fourth quarter, it was sophomore Kenzie Whitley and senior Taylen Hickman that New Boston’s offensive firepower came from.
In the deciding fourth and final frame, Whitley and Hickman combined to score 29 of New Boston’s 33 points (16 for Whitley, 13 for Hickman) to help lift the Lady Tigers in their 20-point win over Green. For the game, Whitley finished with a season-high 26 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and five steals while Hickman finished with a season-high 19, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals in the win.
“Taylen (Hickman) being a senior really showed a lot of fight down the stretch,” Wiley said. “She always has big rebounds and and-ones, but tonight she was scoring consistently from everywhere on the court. Kenzie’s a very smart player, she anticipates well. Both of them helped lift us up when we were playing flat coming into that fourth quarter.”
Sammy Oiler scored the Lady Tigers’ four points in the fourth not scored by Whitley or Hickman to give her 14 points by game’s end, eight of which came in the first quarter — as New Boston led Green 18-9 after one.
Lexus Oiler finished with eight points and eight rebounds in the win, Sammy Oiler finished with five rebounds and four assists in addition to her 14 points, and Shelby Easter finished with two points, six rebounds, and three assists in the win.
However, New Boston’s early lead was chipped away by the Lady Bobcats — as Green took a 29-28 lead into the halftime locker room after outscoring New Boston 20-10 in the second quarter.
While their 40-37 lead the Lady Bobcats boasted entering the fourth was quickly erased, Knapp believes the execution her team showed in quarters two and three when Green outscored New Boston 31-19 can be expanded upon.
“I was really proud of how we battled in those quarters,” Knapp said. “We just made mistakes and turned the ball over late, and that was the deciding factor.”
Kasey Kimbler scored 12 of her 17 team-high points in quarters two and three, while Kame Sweeney finished with 13 points while going 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Green will hope for a bounce-back win on Monday when it will host Western in SOC I play — after back-to-back losses Wednesday and Thursday.
“We’ve got to start rebounding better and stop turning the ball over,” Knapp said. “My big thing is that it’s one game at a time, trying to improve day-by-day. Still 4-2 which is a great start, we’ll keep working to get better.”
New Boston will host Manchester on Saturday in non-league play before traveling to Ironton St. Joe on Monday and Notre Dame on Thursday in pivotal conference games — if the Lady Tigers hope to challenge the Lady Titans for their SOC I crown.
“I think tonight showed that we have multiple girls who are threats, more than one or two girls who can score,” Wiley said. “Shelby only scored two, but she grabbed some big rebounds and can score too when needed. The team got some confidence that we needed, for all of our players. Very proud of our effort in the win, especially defensively.”
Green 9 20 11 10 — 50
New Boston 18 10 9 33 — 70
GREEN 50 (4-2, 3-1 SOC I)
Anna Knapp 2 3-4 9, Kasey Kimbler 7 1-4 17, Kaylee Christian 0 0-0 0, Brelan Baldridge 2 0-0 4, Kimberly Brown 1 2-2 5, 2 9-10 13, Blevins 1 0-0 2; TOTALS: 16 15-20 50; Three-point field goals: 3 (Kimbler 2, Brown 1)
NEW BOSTON 70 (6-1, 3-1 SOC I)
Lexus Oiler 2 4-6 8, Cadence Williams 0 0-0 0, Shelby Easter 1 0-0 2, Kenzie Whitley 10 5-7 26, Dylan O’Rourke 0 1-2 1, Taylen Hickman 5 8-13 19, Sammy Oiler 4 4-4 14; TOTALS: 22 22-32 70; Three-point field goals: 4 (S. Oiler 2, Hickman and Whitley 1 each)
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