It’s the most basic rule of basketball — hit your shots. It’s also something the Buckeye Valley girls basketball team needed to do a bit better.
The Barons were stalwarts on defense and stayed close to the North Union Wildcats the entire game, but after junior Maddie Oberle forced overtime with a three-pointer at the horn in regulation, the visitors took over and defeated Buckeye Valley 61-51 in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division action Thursday at Buckeye Valley High School.
“I told our girls after the game I was proud of them for everything they did,” Buckeye Valley coach Landon Fraker said. “I can’t think of a bad shot that we took, we just couldn’t put them in the hole. Defensively, we were doing what we wanted to do, our bench played well and gave us good minutes, and helped give our starters some rest.”
Buckeye Valley (7-6, 4-4 MOAC Red) frustrated the North Union (11-3, 7-1) offense enough to force a whopping 31 turnovers while committing only 16 itself, but the Barons missed too many shots, many of them from point-blank range, and the Wildcats were finally able to take advantage.
The host Barons finished the night 19 of 70 (27 percent) from the floor and had much too much trouble finding the hoop in transition. Buckeye Valley missed eight layups on the night, and was 9 of 30 (30 percent) on shots off North Union turnovers.
The Wildcats didn’t shoot particularly well themselves, going 17 of 54 (31 percent) from the floor, but were 23 of 31 (74 percent) from the foul line, including 19 of 25 (76 percent) in the fourth quarter and overtime, and dominated the boards, hauling down 60 rebounds to the Barons’ 33 total.
“You normally get that at home,” Fraker said. “We just couldn’t get a shot to fall in transition. We got a little bit undisciplined in their transition and lost the shooters, and I was a little worried when they came out with that run in the third quarter, but our girls dug in. We had some nice plays and we did some good things tonight. We just couldn’t shoot the ball.”
The Barons led twice early in the first quarter, then went on a 7-0 run in the final 1:39 of the period to take back the lead, 11-7, after one quarter. Buckeye Valley would eventually push the lead to 10 points, 17-7, after starting the second quarter with a 6-0 tear.
The Wildcats battled back slowly, getting a trio of three-pointers to cut the Baron lead to three, 19-16, with 1:47 left before half, and received a three-point play from Emily Clark with four seconds left in the half to tie the score a 19-all.
North Union dominated the early part of the third, running out to a 30-21 lead after just over four minutes, but the Barons clawed back within two points late in the period and trailed by just four, 32-28, going to the fourth.
The visitors twice pushed the lead to six points in the fourth quarter only to see the Barons slice it to one both times. North Union led 40-34 with 1:20 left, but Oberle buried a three with 61 seconds to play in regulation, and senior Cassie Ingram hit a jumper from the left elbow with 43 seconds left.
North Union would get its biggest play of the night shortly after when Beth Crofut hauled in a rebound and stuck it back in to put the Wildcats up four, 43-39, with 34 seconds left, and after the Barons twice cut the lead back to two, Crofut made it a three-point game after hitting one of two free throws with 6.5 seconds left.
After the made free throw, however, Oberle took the inbound pass, sprinted up the floor and fired a three from the right side that fell, tying the game at 46-all and sending it to the extra period.
“Our girls did an excellent job fighting back,” Fraker said. “With about a minute and a half to go, they could have put their heads down and given up, but they didn’t. They fought back and tied it up, and I liked our chances in the overtime, but again, we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
But Buckeye Valley couldn’t keep that momentum going in the overtime. The Barons had three opportunities to score in the opening part of the extra session, but could not get a shot to go down.
Meanwhile, Crofut opened the North Union period converting a three-point play, starting what would be a 12-2 run that sealed the game for the Wildcats.
“We didn’t sub too deep into our bench, and they were tired because they worked hard,” Fraker said. “The adrenaline from playing North Union or anyone may have factored in, but the girls have figured out they have to come out ready every night to play anybody, and they did that.”
Oberle topped all scorers with 19 points for the Barons, adding six rebounds, four assists and five steals. Ingram finished with 15 points plus six boards, and senior Michaela Linn closed with nine points plus team highs with seven rebounds and six steals. Junior Amy Stought added four points and four steals, while Megan Veneman and senior Mel Anderson added two points each.
Clark and Mason Jamison topped the North Union scoring with 18 points each, Jamison adding a game-high 14 rebounds and Clark closing with eight boards. Crofut added 10 points, all after the first half and eight in the final 4:34 of the game, while adding 13 rebounds.