Junior guard Molly Delaney scored five points during a 7-0 spurt to bridge the third and fourth quarters that gave the Olentangy girls basketball team the lead for good in a 57-49 win at rival Olentangy Orange Monday night.
“We just dug down and played man-to-man (on defense),” Olentangy coach Mike Daniels said. “We took off the press and figured we’d just stay in front of them.”
Olivia Margolies finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks and Lauren Biehl scored 13 points of her own to lead Olentangy to the OCC-Buckeye Division win. The victory was the Braves’ fourth in their last five games and seventh in a row over their rival.
“This is definitely one of the biggest games we have this year because it’s a district (rivalry),” Biehl said. “I think what really stood out was how well we played as a team and how we really worked together.”
Allison Raiff finished with 10 points, Delaney scored nine and pulled down seven rebounds and Grace Pennington added seven points, including a key three-pointer that gave Olentangy (6-6, 3-2) a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“(Biehl has) been an engine for us,” Daniels said. “She can penetrate, she can shoot. She and Allie Raiff are our assist leaders. Allie and Lauren have been a big part of the success in what we do.”
Biehl scored five points in the fourth, three from the foul line as Olentangy iced the game in the final minute.
Margolies scored the team’s first five points of the game before free throws by Pennington and Biehl sandwiched a Raiff basket during a 6-0 run to give Olentangy a 16-10 lead in the second quarter – it’s biggest of the first half.
“Grace Pennington had a great game (Monday) and picked up what I was challenging her to do,” Daniels said.
The Pioneers got hot from long distance, going a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range to outscore Olentangy 21-10 the rest of the half to take a 31-26 lead at the break.
Schae Lilley hit a pair of three-pointers during that stretch and McKenna Ford and Taylor Myers each connected from deep in the frame for Orange (4-10, 1-4).
Lilley finished with 17 points and four rebounds, Ford had 15 points and three boards, Alyssa Feeley added seven points and Hannah Sargent led with eight rebounds and a pair of blocks.
“We got on one little stretch where we got a little out of control … out of sync,” Orange coach Bob Scott said. “Once we got back in control, we got back in the game. We just had one little stretch where they made a run and we didn’t handle it well.”
It’s a step forward for the Orange program, which had lost its previous six meetings to Olentangy by an average of 25.3 points per game.
“That’s the best we’ve played against them in a couple or three years … we’ve just got to take the next step and get over the hump,” Scott said.
Next up, Orange is right back at it tonight at Dublin Jerome at 7:30 p.m. Olentangy hosts rival Olentangy Liberty in OCC-Buckeye action Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.