DELAWARE – Junior Jessica Nation scored all seven points in a 7-0 run to start the second half, helping the Olentangy Berlin girls basketball team create some separation on the way to its first ever win.
Nation finished with a game-high 22 points, including 12 in the third quarter alone, in the Bears’ 58-46 win at Delaware Hayes in OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday night.
It was a good come-back performance for Nation, who struggled in Berlin’s opener. She led the team in scoring, but struggled shooting from the floor.
“It’s coming off a tough loss – so we’re trying to get back (and) we’re trying to do better and we competed,” she said. “I had a mental block (against Jerome). I was like 0-for probably 10 in the first half and then coming into this game – you have to have a positive mindset.”
Maddie Goodman fed Nation underneath on the first two baskets of the second half. Nation added a free throw on the second basket to make it a three-point play.
“We have some varsity experience, but this whole season is a learning curve,” Berlin coach Megan Beidelman said. “We’re learning how to play when we’re up, learning how to play in tight situations, learning how to get consecutive stops – that was a point of emphasis.”
She scored her third basket in the run at the 6:10 mark to give the Bears (1-1, 1-1) a 32-23 lead – their largest to that point.
Senior Piper Adkins led a mini-comeback for Hayes after a timeout. She assisted on a Jordan Lantz basket and knocked down two free throws. Lantz followed with a free throw to cut the deficit to 32-28 with 4:38 left in the third.
The Pacers would never get closer than four the rest of the way. Goodman went a perfect 6-for-6 at the foul line in the final two minutes and change to put the game out of reach.
Berlin took the lead midway through the second quarter on a Courtney Suchan three-pointer off a Meghan Boggess feed to give the Bears a 20-18 lead as part of a 10-1 run.
“It was a lack of intensity at the times we needed it,” Hayes coach Lou Tiberi said. “I think we started out OK and we had spurts where we were fine. But then we had times where we gave into fatigue a little bit and didn’t get back (on defense). That’s kind of a product of a young team.”
Hayes closed the half with a 5-point spurt on baskets by Alyssa Griner and Lantz and a Lantz free throw to cut the deficit to 25-23 at the break.
“That first half was probably the best half we’ve played collectively,” Beidelman said. “I just challenged them in that third quarter. Just keep playing the way you’re playing and don’t play any differently just because you’re going into the half with the lead … and I think they responded.”
Freshman Chloe Jeffers was the highlight of the Hayes effort. She buried a three-pointer from just in front of the half-court line at the first-period buzzer to give the Pacers a 14-12 lead.
“She doesn’t play like a freshman,” Tiberi said. “She’s put in a ton of time. So, as young as she is – she’s one of our most experienced players. She generally makes the smart play. She’s years ahead of most ninth-graders.”
Jeffers had 14 points on the strength of three threes and Lantz added 13 for the Pacers (3-1, 0-1).
Both teams continue league play Friday night. Hayes hosts Hilliard Darby and Berlin welcomes Dublin Scioto. Both are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.