STEUBENVILLE - The Oak Glen girls' basketball team had a hard time getting into a rhythm offensively early in its game against Catholic Central. In an effort to jumpstart the offense, the Golden Bears ramped up the pressure which led to some easy baskets enabling the girls from Hancock County to pull away from the Crusaders en route to a 55-39 victory Monday night.
"I don't know if it was because we had the day off from school and you also have to give Central's defense a little bit of credit too, but we couldn't get into a rhythm offensively," Oak Glen (11-4) head coach Scott Wiley said. "Sometimes, it takes us some time to get going.
"We built a nice lead. We started pressing a little bit. We started moving the ball. We weren't necessarily going for steals. I have told them that sometimes the offense makes silly passes. We weren't trying to get to steals.
TO THE BASKET — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Miranda Parkinson dribbles to the basket against Oak Glen’s Tori Feicht during Monday’s 55-39 victory by the Golden Bears.
-- Mike Mathison
JUMPER — Oak Glen’s Vanessa Hissam takes a jump shot in front of Catholic Central’s Alex McComb during the first half of Monday’s win. The victory allowed the Golden Bears to qualify for next week’s OVAC?Tournament.
-- Mike Mathison
"Hopefully, we get into the OVAC Tournament. We will have to see how it goes."
The Golden Bears did their part to reach the tournament. They entered cutoff day in fifth place barely behind fourth-place Union Local in Class 4A. Oak Glen may have gotten the help it needed when Indian Creek defeated Union Local earlier in the evening.
Early projections had the Golden Bears qualifying for the tournament as the No. 4 seed with the Jets dropping out. The Redskins, which started the day in fourth place in Class 5A, are also expected to qualify for the tournament.
The Crusaders played solid defense early in the game, but Catholic Central did not fare as well on that end of the court the rest of the way.
"We stopped guarding them," Catholic Central (5-12) head coach Tommy Winland said. "Our defense stopped being physical with them. We let them cut and go where they wanted. You have to give credit to Oak Glen and coach Wiley.
"We let them cut in front of our face, and we can't let that happen.
"In the first quarter, we did a good job of beating them to their cuts. Then, we weren't able to stop them for four or six minutes. That can't happen in the game of basketball.
"That's us. It's been a rollercoaster. We play real well, and then we struggle. We play well, and then we have a letdown. The kids are learning, and they will learn from this."
Three players scored in double digits to lead the way for Oak Glen. Vanessa Hissam scored a team-high 15 points to lead the way, while Karly Wiley collected 12 points and Jessica Stivason netted 11 points.
"Scoring and rebounding are her two biggest strengths," coach Wiley said about Hissam. "We have really been passing the ball well. We are seeing the court. Karly is really seeing the court well. Alex has been playing good defense. We have played well the last three games.
"I don't know what the final numbers are as far as who scored how many points, but we have been balanced. Vanessa usually scores the most, and then we get good production from four or five other girls. It is nice. We have been balanced."
Micca Mirabella collected a team-high 15 points to lead the way for Catholic Central.
Thanks to a 6-0 run to end the quarter, the Golden Bears led 10-5 after the first quarter. Oak Glen extended its lead to 26-14 at halftime.
"Their pressure hurt us a little bit," Winland said. "We started to panic and we started to rush. Early in the game, we were methodical. We took our time. We passed the ball. We got it in the middle, and then we attacked.
"Then, it was like the girls wanted to get the ball out of their hands as fast as possible. It was like the half-court count was five seconds instead of 10.
"We are a young team. We will learn from this and get better. We make mistakes, but we need to learn from those mistakes. We have to move on from them. We can't let the mistakes hinder us. We have to move on."
Both teams are scheduled to return to the court Wednesday on the road with both teams playing Thursday at home.
Oak Glen is slated to play Wednesday at Beaver Local and Thursday at home against Edison.
Catholic Central is scheduled to visit Wheeling Park on Wednesday host Toronto on Thursday.
Oak Glen 55, Catholic Central 39
Oak Glen 10 16 17 12 - 55
Catholic Central 5 9 6 19 - 39
OAK GLEN (11-4): Arnott 0 3-5 3, Snow 0 2-2 2, Witherow 1 1-2 3, Evans 2 0-1 4, Andrews 1 1-4 3, Feicht 1 0-0 2, Hissam 6 3-4 15, Wiley 5 2-2 12, Stivason 5 1-2 11, McKay 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 13-22 55.
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (5-12): Stevens 0 0-2 0, Dziewatkoski 0 0-0 0, Torrance 0 1-2 1, S. Mirabella 1 0-0 2, Bertoia 0 4-6 4, Virute 0 0-2 0, Parkinson 1 2-2 5, M. Mirabella 5 4-7 15, McComb 0 0-0 0, Hunt 1 0-0 2, Ondos 0 3-8 3, Capaldi 3 0-0 7. Totals: 11 14-30 39. 3-pointers: Parkinson, Mirabella, Capaldi.