NEW MANCHESTER - The Crusaders stole the ball and the game.
The Catholic Central girls' basketball team rallied to sore the final 11 points of regulation to send its game against Oak Glen into overtime. In overtime, the Crusaders doubled up the Golden Bears, 10-5, to pull out a 46-41 victory Monday night on Senior Night at the Oak Glen Fieldhouse.
Oak Glen drops to 8-7, but will finish in fourth place in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A standings. The Golden Bears will visit No. 1 Steubenville Big Red next week in the OVAC semifinals.
PRESSURE — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Miranda Parkinson dribbles against the defensive pressure of Oak Glen’s Alex Arnott during Monday’s 46-41 overtime victory by the Crusaders.
-- Aaron Petchal
"We threw it away, or you could say they took it away," Oak Glen head coach Scott Wiley said. "They are very good defensively. They pressure you with their defense. You have got to take care of the ball, and we didn't against their defense.
"We had some turnovers. We missed a couple shots. We missed some foul shots. We missed some layups. Turnovers killed us."
A few minutes into the fourth quarter, Vanessa Hissam scored to put the Golden Bears up 36-25. The lead was Oak Glen's biggest of the game, but the basket was the last time the hosts scored until after the visitors took the lead early into overtime.
"The girls never quit," Catholic Central head coach Tommy Winland said after his club raised its record to 6-13. "They play hard all the time. They just have to get a little smarter, and you saw a little bit of that tonight.
"The other night we were in this same position. We were down by 11 points, and we battled back. In the end, it just didn't work out for us. Tonight, we were down by 11 points, and we fought back. I think the experience from the other night paid off tonight.
"I am proud of the girls. I love them to death. They play hard. They never quit no matter what the record is."
Hissam and Karly Wiley each tallied 10 points to lead the way for the Golden Bears.
Rachel Rigaud recorded a game-high 11 points, while Micca Mirabella tallied 10 points for the Crusaders.
Mirrabella and Lauren Hunt, who netted eight points, each scored four points to help lead the way during the Crusaders' late charge.
Hunt opened overtime with a bucket to put Catholic Central up 38-36 to complete the 13-0 run. Hissam scored to tie the game at 38, but Rigaud scored putting the Crusaders out in front 40-38. Catholic Central was able to hang on for the win from that point.
Arnott hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe making the score 40-39, but baskets by Hunt and Rigaud made the score 44-39 with 48 seconds left. Oak Glen pulled to within 44-41 on a basket by Stivason with 29.3 seconds showing on the clock, but the Golden Bears did not score the rest of the way.
Two foul shots by Mirrabella with 25.5 seconds left put the game away.
"They play good-pressure defense, and we are not old enough to handle it," coach Wiley said. "I don't want to say 15 games into the season that we are still young, but we are a young team. We are getting better. I don't know what it is, but we can't put it in the hole."
Like in the first game, the Crusaders struggled shooting the ball, but this time around Catholic Central was able to come through in the clutch.
"We couldn't knock down shots that game," Winland said. "If I recall, they packed it in and played zone against us. I think we shot in the mid-teens or the low teens in that game, but the girls keep working.
"The come in and they work on their shooting. They play really, really hard on defense. They keep learning. They are learning how to go from defense to offense.
"Coach Wiley does an excellent job. His kids play hard. They killed us on the boards."
After the Crusaders scored the first four points of the third quarter, the Golden Bears scored the next eight to build a 30-21 advantage. Irvin sank a shot as time expired in the stanza making the score 30-25 entering the fourth quarter.
The Golden Bears scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to build an 11-point lead.
Patterson, Oak Glen's lone senior, was honored before the game.
"Casey has a really done a nice job for us," Wiley said. "She has been a starter for three years. She keeps the girls loose. She keeps them going. She is always there. She has really been a strong influence on the other girls. I'm going to hate to see her go."
Oak Glen's next game is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home against Edison. Catholic Central's next game will be in pool play Monday.
Catholic Central 46, Oak Glen 41
Catholic Central 8 9 8 11 10 - 46
Oak Glen 8 14 8 6 5 - 41
CATHOLIC CENTRAL: Knight 1 0-0 3, Irvin 2 1-3 5, Rigaud 4 3-10 11, Mirabella 3 4-4 10, Parkinson 1 1-5 3, Dziewatoski 2 0-0 4, Ondos 1 0-0 2. Hunt 3 2-4 8. Totals: 17 11-25 46. 3-pointers: Knight.
OAK GLEN: Arnott 2 1-3 5, Snow 0 0-0 0, Patterson 1 0-1 2, Evans 2 0-0 4, Andrews 0 0-0 0, Feicht 3 0-0 6, Hissam 4 2-8 10, Wiley 5 0-0 10, Stivason 2 0-1 4. Totals: 19 3-13 41.