It was the game of never-ending fouls, or so it seemed, Thursday night at Minford High School. After four players fouled out, four others who finished with four fouls, 48 total fouls, and 74 free throws, the Minford Lady Falcons held off several attempts by the Oak Hill Lady Oaks to make a comeback, and pick up an SOC win.
The game was a definite battle of wills, as the Lady Oaks refused to give up and allow the Lady Falcons to gain an easy win.
In the end though, Minford was successful in stopping several Oak Hill comeback runs to gain a win over the Lady Oaks, 67-60.
Despite the nearly unbelievable number of fouls, the game was ultimately highlighted by the spectacular performance of Minford’s Erin Daniels.
Daniels had a career night against Oak Hill. She finished the night with a career high 35 points, and kick started several Minford runs to fend off Oak Hill’s attempts to take over the game.
“She was really focused tonight, and she came to play,” Minford coach Scott Caudill said. “She had a chip on her shoulder, and I’m glad she did.”
Daniels got the night started for Minford, scoring the team’s first six points by way of two old fashioned three point plays. She attacked the basket and drove into the lane with a fearless attitude.
She also shot 94% from the free throw line, hitting 16 of her 17 attempts.
Oak Hill looked like a completely different team than they were early in the season, and Caudill showed no reservations in giving them praise for their improvement.
“That is a new Oak Hill team,” Caudill said. “Those Blanton girls make a huge difference. (Brianna) Blanton, she penetrates so well, and we had a hard time matching up against her. She had a great game.”
Brianna led the Lady Oaks with 21 points Thursday evening. She also had a great night from the free throw line, hitting 12 of her 14 attempts.
Bethany Blanton had a great game as well, scoring 13 points, as the Blanton duo combined for 34 points.
Oak Hill coach Doug Hale had his squad prepared to take down the Lady Falcons.
“Doug coached a great game,” Caudill said. “They tried to push the tempo in transition, and did a great job of it.”
Caudill thought transition would be a benefit for his Lady Falcons, but it became an Oak Hill positive, as their execution in transition surpassed Minford.
“We both made runs, and when they made runs we were able to stop the runs,” Caudill said. “It made for a really close game.”
Caudill was thankful for being able to pick up a win against who he believes is the best coach in southern Ohio.
“Doug Hale is somebody that I look up to, and is a mentor to me,” Caudill said. “I’ve watched him for years, so anytime I go against him I get nervous, because he is a great coach, and a proven coach.”
The Lady Falcons will be off until Wednesday evening, when they make up a game with Vinton County. After the makeup game, Minford will then travel to Lucasville to take on the Valley Lady Indians the following night.
“Valley is a much improved team, so it’s going to be tough because we have to focus on Vinton County, which is a tremendous team, and then Valley,” Caudill said. “We’ve got to get back to the gym and work.”
Both games are scheduled to begin at about 7:30 p.m.
Minford – Daniels 9-16-35, Risner 4-2-11, Shepherd 3-3-9, Grasso 3-1-9, Puckett 0-2-2, Blankenship 0-1-1
Oak Hill- Brianna Blanton 4-12-21, Bethany Blanton 4-2-13, Dempsey 4-3-11, Ward 1-3-5, Riley 1-1-4, Wright 1-1-3, Swingle 1-1-3
Three-point field goals – Minford 3 (Grasso 2, Risner) Oak Hill 5 (Bethany Blanton 3, Brianna Blanton, Riley)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.