Morgan Lott scored eight of her game-high 22 points in a minute-long fury that paced River Valley’s 14-point comeback victory over Buckeye Valley Thursday night in Delaware.
The Vikings used a 20-5 run in the second half to win 52-49 in both teams’ MOAC Red opener.
“I’m disappointed because I still feel like we’re the better team,” Barons coach Landon Fraker said. “I think (River Valley) was more opportunistic than we were.”
The Vikings took advantage of being in the double-bonus by the end of the third quarter and hit all seven of their free throws to hold on to the lead.
“I knew we were in trouble because I’ve watched them long enough to know that they can shoot free throws,” Fraker said. “We gotta do a better job of moving our feet and not bailing out when they get by.”
Lott was held in check in the first half, but came on strong in the second half with 10 points in the third quarter and nine more in the fourth on the strength of three three-pointers and a perfect 6-for-6 at the foul line.
Lott also tied for the team-high with four rebounds and led with three steals and a pair of assists. Her third three with 6:58 remaining in the game gave River Valley its first lead since the 3:03 mark of the first quarter.
She assisted on Alexis Stevens’ go-ahead basket that gave the Vikings the lead for good with 6:09 left.
Stevens chipped in 12 points, including a 3-for-3 effort at the line down the stretch, and added four rebounds and two steals.
Jenson Lewis added nine points and four rebounds for the Vikings (2-0, 1-0).
Morgan Scowden and Logan Hatcher got off to hot starts for the Barons as they built a 26-19 lead at the half and a 33-19 edge early in the third quarter.
“(We) executed our defensive game plan perfectly – perfectly,” Fraker said. “We had some things that we wanted to throw at them to confuse them and we picked up the turnovers. It seemed like in the first half we were getting the turnovers and we were getting the loose balls.”
Scowden scored 11 of her team-high 17 points in the first half and her three with 5:17 left in the third quarter gave the Barons (1-1, 0-1) their largest lead of the game.
“She is a scorer,” Fraker said. “The team finds her and they look for her – she moves well without the ball.”
She also had three rebounds and a pair of blocks as BV outrebounded the Vikings 47-27.
Hatcher scored nine of her 11 points in the first half and was dominate on the boards. She finished with 12 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.
“She played very, very well,” Fraker said. “We challenged our post players — they needed to control the boards — and I think she did that for the most part.”
Hannah Cowen, Tess Hughes and Alaina Radcliffe each had seven rebounds for the Barons. Cowen scored eight of her 11 points in the second half to lead the team.
“(Cowan) did a lot of nice things,” Fraker said. “Sometimes when she’s out there we forget she’s a sophomore.”
Sophomore Sean Marks had a huge night, pouring in a game-best 27 points to lead Olentangy to a 65-49 season-opening win over host Harding Thursday in Marion.
Jason Sieve was one of six other Braves to score, finishing with 14 points on the strength of a team-leading three triples.
“I think the thing I liked most was the offense was working,” Olentangy coach John Feasel said. “We had good floor spacing, moved the ball well, found the open person and knocked down shots.”
The Braves had things under control from the start, jumping out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter. A 19-12 second gave them a 35-20 lead at halftime and a 21-15 third all but sealed the deal.
“Defensively, we stopped some people and held them in check until the fourth quarter,” Feasel said.
Marks made his mark at the line, scoring nearly half his points (12) at the charity stripe. Greg Hendrix also had a nice night, finishing with eight points in the win.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.