NEW BOSTON — Green’s gameplan, as expected, geared towards taking advantage of some tired Tigers.
After all, for the five-lady New Boston Lady Tigers on Thursday, this was their third game in four days —and fourth in six nights.
Thus, the visiting Lady Bobcats — in a contest towards second-place in the Southern Ohio Conference Division I — broke loose for a pair of 17-point first-half quarters, and ultimately captured a 60-31 victory inside socially-distant Homer Pellegrinon Gymnasium.
The win, which was Green’s fifth consecutive, raised the Lady Bobcats’ record to 6-2 —while the Lady Tigers fell to 6-5.
Both clubs are now 5-2 in the SOC I and trail league leader Notre Dame by two full games, as the Lady Titans remain a perfect 7-0 in the division.
Notre Dame has also defeated both Green and New Boston once, so Thursday’s tilt took on added importance of remaining within some semblance of striking distance of the Lady Titans.
With the coronavirus situation and ongoing threat impacting the season, Green got only four games in through the first six weeks — which slowed the Bobcats’ ability to get into an early rhythm.
But late December and into mid-January has been kind otherwise, and Green’s got a roll going right now.
“This is good for confidence and a good conference win, and it’s great to be playing games again right now,” said Green coach Melissa Knapp. “We only played four games combined in November and December. Being able to practice every day and play our games without getting them cancelled and rescheduled is important.”
Unfortunately for the “Fab Five” Lady Tigers, that’s something that’s happened too much.
New Boston has twice been forced into quarantine — resulting in games getting backed up, its schedule shifting dramatically, and having to endure weeks of three or even four battles with only five players.
New Boston coach Kayla Wiley said teams play the numbers game against her Tigers, which lost their third affair in six days —due in part to fatigue setting in.
“We’ve had a lot of games we’re trying to get in and we’ve been in quarantine twice. Not only just that, but Green is very good and physical, and they were quick tonight. They wore us down,” said Wiley. “The last few games, we’ve really been struggling taking care of the basketball. Some of it is fatigue, or just getting out of sync and getting tired from the games.”
The Lady Tigers took a 3-0 lead only 53 seconds in on Thursday — on a Cassie Williams free throw followed by a Shelby Easter basket.
But the Bobcats answered with eight unanswered points over the next three minutes and 35 seconds, as Kasey Kimbler made a steal and layup for a 3-3 tie.
Green never trailed for the final 30 minutes and dozen seconds, going ahead for good on the first of Kimbler’s five-three pointers —which made it 6-3 at the 5:38 mark of the opening period.
Although Easter scored twice more to get the Tigers to within three (8-5 and 10-7) twice, the Bobcats began their pull-away with an Anna Knapp three-pointer to make it 13-7 at the 3:25 juncture.
A Williams rebound putback and Easter’s three-pointer got the Tigers to within a single point (13-12) one last time two minutes later — but over the next 2:25, Kimbler canned two more trifectas for a 20-12 advantage only a minute into the second stanza.
As part of Green’s second straight 17-point period, senior Brelan Baldridge scored all six of her points on three buckets —as the Tigers began to tire and only amounted six points for the entire quarter.
Coach Knapp said Green’s gameplan got going finally, and even in the first when Kimbler connected for two treys.
“I really thought we played sloppy, especially early. They have five kids and I know they were tired, and our gameplan was to push the ball up the floor and to try and wear them out. We have 15 kids, and it’s good anytime when we can get our sophomores and juniors in there that don’t get to play a whole lot,” she said. “Kasey Kimbler came out and hit some threes in the first half to really get us going.”
Kimbler splashed five threes to be exact, including a first-half four en route to 17 points — with her fifth and final triple coming just 30 seconds into the fourth canto to make it 45-23.
Wiley said the Bobcat junior standout shot well, but benefited from being open due to breakdowns in the Lady Tigers’ defense.
“Kimbler is a great player and she’s just hard to guard. We tried a little bit of everything to contain her, but I felt we got away from our gameplan early. We gave her some shots that were more open than what I wanted her to be,” she said.
The game’s leading scorer was actually Green senior Kame Sweeney, who finished with 18 points on eight field goals and 2-of-2 first-frame free throws —with all five of her fourth-quarter baskets coming consecutive after Kimbler made her three.
A deuce by Katelinn Satterfield and a three-ball by Emily Brady made it 60-27 with a minute remaining —which was the Lady Bobcats’ biggest margin.
Kim Brown bagged a field goal and 4-of-5 foul shots to tie fellow senior Baldridge with six points, as Knapp notched five by adding a third-quarter two.
Easter, on six total field goals and 3-of-6 freebies, paced the Lady Tigers with 16 points —as Cadence Williams netted nine for next-highest.
Cassie Williams with four points and converted point guard Kenzie Whitley with a fourth-quarter basket rounded out the New Boston scoring.
Coach Knapp knew, and tried to exhort her charges, not to take the Lady Tigers lightly.
“Give those New Boston girls credit, because they never quit. They are small in numbers, but they have some very good players. This isn’t a typical team that only has five players and is trying to survive. Those girls are here to play ball. They were not to be taken lightly at all. That was my message to our girls coming in here,” she said. “We can’t take them for granted because they only have kids.”
The Bobcats will next play another traditionally small-roster squad on Monday —when they travel to Ironton St. Joseph in the SOC I.
Tip time is set for 6 p.m.
For the Lady Tigers, there’s just no rest for the wicked, as they ventured to Minford on Saturday for a non-league makeup matchup.
Tip time was set for noon.
That marked their fifth game in exactly eight days, as Wiley wants to see her ‘Fab Five’ regain its early form.
“This is really a good group of five girls that truly work hard. We were gelling early in the season and doing really well, but we’ve ran into a couple of quarantines and a few other obligations that people had. Now we’re playing so many games here lately, probably for the last week-and-a-half, and fatigue has factored in. We’ve gotten out of sorts, so hopefully we can get our chemistry back as a team,” said Wiley. “It’s been a struggle since Christmas, but I believe we’re going to get back on track.”
* * *
Green 17 17 8 18 — 60
New Boston 12 6 5 8 — 31
GREEN 60 (6-2, 5-2 SOC I)
Kasey Kimbler 6 0-0 17, Kimberly Brown 1 4-5 6, Kame Sweeney 8 2-2 18, Charli Blevins 1 1-2 3, Anna Knapp 2 0-0 5, Brelan Baldridge 3 0-0 6, Kaylee Christian 0 0-2 0, Emily Brady 1 0-0 3, Katelinn Satterfield 1 0-0 2, Lori Brown 0 0-0 0, Alex Smith 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 23 7-11 60; Three-point field goals: 7 (Kasey Kimbler 5, Anna Knapp and Emily Brady 1 apiece)
NEW BOSTON 31 (6-5, 5-2 SOC I)
Cadence Williams 4 1-2 9, Shelby Easter 6 3-6 16, Kenzie Whitley 1 0-1 2, Dylan O’Rourke 0 0-0 0, Cassie Williams 1 2-4 4; TOTALS 12 6-13 31; Three-point field goals: 1 (Shelby Easter 1)
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