Coach John Feasel’s Olentangy Braves made three comebacks Tuesday night in their Ohio Capital Conference Cardinal Division game against Dublin Scioto. Trouble is, they needed one more.
The Braves rallied to take the lead in the third quarter and held a four-point lead with 27 seconds left in regulation, but the Irish scored the final four points of the fourth quarter and used a 9-0 run in overtime to help them to a 62-61 victory at Olentangy High School.
“They made big shots,” Feasel said. “They had an answer for everything we had, and hats off to them. Every time we got up, they hit big shots. Even when we were up four at the end of the game, they’d hit a big shot and we’d give it up or miss a shot. They earned it.”
Olentangy (2-1, 1-1 OCC Cardinal) found itself down six at the half and eight early in the third, but went on a 9-0 run, including a span where they scored three buckets in 24 seconds, to take a 27-26 edge.
But every time, Dublin Scioto (2-1, 2-0) had the answer. The Irish scored the next four points of the game and held a 32-30 lead with under two minutes to go in the third.
“We have a lot of girls with experience, but we don’t have a lot of girls with crunch-time, overtime, OCC-battle experience,” Feasel said. “There’s a big difference playing those minutes and playing in mop-up or blow out situations. We’re learning.”
Olentangy came back again to take a 36-32 at the end of three, only to see the Irish tie the score at 38 just under three minutes into the fourth.
The Braves picked the offense up, getting five straight points from junior Brooke Zwayer to take a 43-38 advantage with under four minutes to play, but not long after, junior post Lydia Hyburg picked up her fifth foul and was forced to sit.
“It hurt when Lydia fouled out,” Feasel said. “She was 10 of 11 coming into this game and was finishing for us inside, and when she fouled out we had to put some others in, but we still have to take care of the ball and make free throws.”
Scioto scored six of the next eight points of the game, including four from the foul line, and closed within one, 45-44, but Olentangy pushed the lead back to four twice, the second time on a pair of free throws from junior Gina Miccinilli with 27 ticks left.
Following a time out, Scioto came down court and got a bucket from senior post Emily Jones with 21 seconds to go, and forced a Braves turnover that turned into two Jones free throws with 11 seconds left, tying the game. The Braves had two shots at the bucket in the final five seconds, but a Zwayer layup and a follow from junior Megan Beidelman did not fall.
Olentangy got the first points of the extra frame on two Zwayer free throws, but the Irish hit three field goals and three free throws in a span of under two minutes while forcing a pair of Olentangy turnovers to take a 59-52 lead with 1:38 left in overtime.
But Olentangy didn’t cave in. Zwayer sank a three-pointer with 1:25 left, and after the Irish went 3 of 4 from the line, senior Nicole Payne dropped a trey with 20 seconds left, closing the gap to four.
After two missed free throws, Beidelman scored on a follow-up layup and was fouled with 1.4 seconds to play. Olentangy tried to miss the free throw and get a tip-in to tie, but Beidelman’s shot hit the right side of the rim and fell in instead. Scioto inbounded the ball to half court and held it for the win.
“I think it was great we came back in overtime,” Feasel said. “We had a chance to tip one in to win the game at the end, but the funny thing is we went all night trying to make our free throws and when we tried to miss one, we made it.”
Zwayer topped the Braves with 15 points, Payne added 12 and Beidelman 11 points. Katie Heath finished with six points for Olentangy with Miccinilli adding five and sophomore Ganiru Anunike four off the bench.
Jones led all scorers with 20 points for Scioto. Elise Jones also had 14 points for the Irish.