SOUTH WEBSTER — This time, and unfortunately for the Lady Jeeps, they were on the wrong end of an overtime score in the 60s against a Jackson County club.
That’s because, just three days after winning in overtime at Jackson by a 65-64 count, South Webster was back at it on Saturday in Southern Ohio Conference Division II competition — and against Oak Hill in a key league makeup matchup.
But the Lady Oaks were, and are, overtime-tested too — and outscored South Webster 8-4 in the second overtime to capture a hard-fought 67-63 double-overtime triumph just a day after Christmas.
Thus, a second Christmas present for the Lady Jeeps, in the form of another overtime win, wasn’t under the tree this year.
The loss left the Lady Jeeps at an even 3-3 and 2-2 in the SOC II, so it was costly as far as the league championship chase is concerned.
Wheelersburg, the defending division champion and at 4-0 this season, leads the race this season at the holiday turn —along with 3-1 Northwest.
That game, which was set for Monday night, was postponed for the second time —as all other SOC II clubs, including Oak Hill at 3-2, have suffered at least two league losses.
The Lady Oaks, which are also 3-3, played for the second straight Saturday to an overtime final —as they lost at Northwest 47-40.
Oak Hill’s other league loss is at Wheelersburg, so Saturday’s showdown at South Webster would be, could be, and eventually might be considered an early elimination tilt in the SOC II race.
But the Lady Jeeps are indeed young with only sole senior Liz Shupert, and were playing just their second contest following a two-week shutdown caused by a coronavirus quarantine.
“The effort was just incredible, both at Jackson and again today. I didn’t know what to expect coming off of Christmas yesterday (Friday), and we were kind of slow to get going. But all five of our starters were on the (Division IV) regional final volleyball team. They are competitive and they don’t like to lose,” said SWHS coach Ryan Dutiel. “They came out with fire in their eyes, especially in the second half. They really put a lot of effort out and did exactly what we wanted to do and were right there at the end again. Just didn’t go our way this time.”
It really didn’t go South Webster’s way until the third quarter, as Oak Hill held the lead throughout the entire first half —including as much as a 13-4 advantage halfway through the first quarter.
The Lady Jeeps did rally with nine unanswered points for the first half’s only tie (13-13), as freshman Skylar Zimmerman made a corner pocket three-pointer and split two pairs of free throws — followed by Shupert scoring on a coast-to-coast layup and three consecutive Bri Claxon field goals.
For Claxon, the third team Division IV all-Ohioan last season and who poured in 37 points in the win at Jackson, she almost matched that number on Saturday.
She finished with 15 deuces and one trey, and made 3-of-5 free throws in the overtime cantos for a game-high 36.
“Bri is an incredible player,” said Dutiel. “Once she gets inside the lane, she is a handful. She is so quick and her leaping ability and everything just shines because she elevates so well. We’re obviously looking for her to create something. We give the kids a very small few things to do, such as setting screens in certain spots, and leaving the rest up to Bri’s superior creativity and athletic ability.”
She scored at least six points in each of the first four quarters, including nine consecutive in the third to give the Lady Jeeps their first lead at 38-37.
But Claxon’s biggest baskets forced not only the first overtime, but also the second.
Oak Hill tied it at 44-44 and 48-48 on baskets by leading scorer Chloe Chambers, but Claxon scored with 57 seconds showing to make it 46-46 — before Brooke Howard drove the lane and hit a shot for a 50-48 Lady Oaks’ advantage inside of 10 seconds.
That was plenty of time for Claxon to dash the length of the court and beat the buzzer with a layup —resulting in the first overtime tied at 50-all.
In the initial extra session, the Jeeps forged deadlocks of 52-52, 54-54 and 57-57 —on two free throws apiece by Bella Claxon and Bri Claxon and finally a pull-up jumper by Bri Claxon with 23 seconds showing.
Once again, Howard hit the go-ahead shot for Oak Hill with six seconds left — this time driving the right side and sinking a right-handed halfway over-the-head hook shot.
After another timeout, and like an instant replay, Bri Claxon again drove the length of the floor —and again beat the buzzer with another inside bucket.
This time, the score stood tied at 59-59.
“A couple of girls set screens, then Bri just creates and gets to the middle of the lane,” said Dutiel. “And you see the results.”
Unfortunately, though, there is no margin for error in overtime —and the Lady Jeeps trailed for the final 2:10 of the second extra period.
Claxon — whose jumper tied it at 61-61 — was fouled with 1:42 to go, but missed the second of double-bonus free throws, leaving Oak Hill ahead at 63-62.
With the Lady Oaks in front 64-62, Zimmerman was fouled with 19 seconds left, but she too made the first and missed the second of the double bonus — as Howard hit a clutch pair on the other end just three seconds later.
From there, Shupert shot and missed a corner three-pointer — as Chambers got the rebound and made the second of her double bonus to essentially seal it.
The six-foot two-inch junior Chambers, with 20 points on eight baskets and 4-of-7 foul shots, led the Lady Oaks to an important SOC II win.
“We had a couple trips down the floor where we had empty possessions with missed shots. (Chloe) Chambers was good on the boards for them, she was able to limit us to one shot and no second-shot opportunities,” said Dutiel. “That’s something you are always hoping for in that situation.”
Howard helped out with a dozen points on four field goals and 4-of-8 free throws — 10 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtimes.
The Lady Oaks won despite making only half of their 28 foul shots, but did get four crucial second-half makes by Olivia Clarkson, including on a technical foul with 2:38 to play.
Chambers and Baylee Howell had a fourth-quarter split apiece, and Emily Doss —off the bench in the first overtime — made it 57-55 with her split.
“It’s a huge win for us, because we’ve lost a couple of games in this young season like this. We’ve been building on in our practices and our games to be in moments like this, but be able to finish,” said longtime OHHS coach Doug Hale. “Everybody stepped up in the moment and made plays late in the game. Early on, we shot the ball really well. They changed defenses on us in the third quarter, and it took us a while to get adjusted to that and in our flow, but I’m real proud of them for fighting hard and fighting back and coming out of here with a double-overtime win. I don’t know if I’ve ever had one of those.”
And Hale has over 500 career coaching victories while rapidly approaching 600 — along with three Division III state runner-ups (2004, 2009 and 2011).
The Lady Oaks, on the strength of five first-half threes including two by Clarkson (17 points) and three by Howell (15 points), held a 30-24 halftime advantage —as Claxon’s dozen points positioned the Lady Jeeps to possibly strike in the second half.
That they did, and the 5-9 junior scoring machine Claxon —with her nine straight third-period points including the club’s only other three at the 3:22 mark — spearheaded the charge.
Over the final four-and-a-half minutes of the third frame, the Lady Jeeps erupted for 11 unanswered points —including Claxon’s consecutive after Bella’s (Claxon) putback basket made it 37-31 at exactly the four-minute mark.
Bri Claxon’s steal and layup to make it 40-37 was South Webster’s largest lead —as the Lady Oaks’ only third-period points were Howell’s final of four treys, Chambers with a deuce and two Clarkson freebies.
“The kids really stepped up defensively in the second half,” said Dutiel. “We wanted to limit Clarkson’s looks at the basket, and Bri (Claxon) did an excellent job of face-guarding her. Then we told Faith (Maloney) to make sure she fronts (Chloe) Chambers and make them throw it over the top. The other three were just in deep help. That was the recipe for most of the second half.”
The Lady Oaks trailed 44-41 with four minutes remaining —only to score five straight including two technical foul free throws just a minute and 22 seconds later.
Bella Claxon and Zimmerman both added 11 points, as Claxon scored her four field goals and 3-of-4 free throws in the second half and overtimes.
Zimmerman was 6-of-10 at the line, part of a team 13-of-21.
Faith Maloney, beset by foul trouble, managed only three points, but did rip down 17 rebounds and blocked six shots.
All three Lady Jeeps losses have come at home, with Waverly in the SOC II and non-league and undefeated Notre Dame in the season opener being the others.
The Lady Jeeps return home, and return to non-league action, against Belpre on Tuesday (Dec. 29) as part of a girls-boys doubleheader.
Tip time for the reserve game is set for 1 p.m.
Dutiel said South Webster made “some tired mistakes” against Oak Hill, but praised his Lady Jeeps for coming back and gaining a Christmas week split.
Even if it had to work overtime to do it.
“They came up big coming off quarantine,” said the coach. “Today where we were getting steals and in better position defensively in the first half or third quarter became fouls late because we were a step slow or weren’t hedging some of the screens correctly. We were just tired.”
Oak Hill 18 12 7 13 9 8 — 67
S. Webster 15 9 16 10 9 4 —63
OAK HILL 67 (3-3, 3-2 SOC II)
Baylee Howell 5 1-3 15, Tamron McCain 1 0-2 2, Chloe Chambers 8 4-7 20, Brooke Howard 4 4-8 12, Jordan Howard 0 0-0 0, Kyla Simmonds 0 0-0 0, Olivia Clarkson 5 4-4 17, Emily Doss 0 1-4 1; TOTALS 23 14-28 67; Three-point field goals: 7 (Baylee Howell 4, Olivia Clarkson 3)
SOUTH WEBSTER 63 (3-3, 2-2 SOC II)
Faith Maloney 1 1-2 3, Liz Shupert 1 0-0 2, Bri Claxon 16 3-5 36, Kerith Wright 0 0-0 0, Skylar Zimmerman 2 6-10 11, Riley Raynard 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Murphy 0 0-0 0, Bella Claxon 4 3-4 11; TOTALS 24 13-21 63; Three-point field goals: 2 (Bri Claxon and Skylar Zimmerman 2 apiece)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved