By Michael Rich
Olentangy girls basketball coach John Feasel said that Wednesday night’s 46-30 win over Nelsonville-York resembled Rocky’s fight with Thunderlips.
“It’s over — they rang the bell — thank you for coming,” he said before letting out a “whew.”
Olentangy (19-2) turned the ball over 29 times and was hit with an intentional foul. York had a technical foul called on one of its players as well.
“Was I happy with the outcome? Yes,” Feasel said. “Was I happy with the way we got there? I think we had a hundred turnovers.”
Feasel found a bright spot in an otherwise sloppy game.
“Seventeen-for-21 from the free throw line, which the way we’ve been shooting free throws lately, that’s pretty good,” he said. “I’ll take that.”
Still, Kelly Meade scored 15 points and Chelsea Moore finished with nine points, eight rebounds and three steals to lead Olentangy, which ran its winning streak to 13 games.
“It was probably one of the toughest games that we’ve encountered,” Moore said. “It was a really hard game, but we kept our cool for the most part.”
The Braves used a 10-0 run in the first quarter to take the lead and held the Buckeyes to three free throws down the stretch to close out the game 10-3 for the final margin.
Christina Baumann found Meade for a three-pointer and Moore had a put-back converted into an old-fashioned three-point play to highlight the start. Olentangy led 15-10 at the end of the first.
Desiree Dulay came off the bench to score four points on back-to-back possessions during the fourth-quarter run. She made a pair of free throws and followed with a put-back after an Allison Raiff steal.
“We played a lot of people,” Feasel said. “That was the one goal. It’s tough because we played back-to-back nights. Alli Raiff played 32 minutes (Tuesday night at Worthington Kilbourne). So, you gotta try to get her off her feet a little bit.”
Olentangy played lock-down defense in the second quarter, holding York (13-6) to just one free throw, but could only manage seven points and led 21-11 at the break.
York’s Kaitlyn Hurd scored eight of her team-high 15 points in the third quarter to help the Buckeyes get as close as seven before Olivia Margolies put back an offensive rebound to give Olentangy a 31-22 lead.
Margolies and Emily Stephens each had six rebounds to top Olentangy.
The Buckeyes had 16 steals, led by Samantha Taylor and Jessie Addis, who had four apiece. Hurd had six rebounds and Tori Campbell had four to lead York.
In other news, Molly Delaney, one of Olentangy’s top scorers, will not return this season, Feasel said.
“We’re fortunate here at Olentangy to have a lot of good basketball players,” Feasel said. “As much as I hate to lose Molly Delaney because she’s a very integral part of this team, we try to make it so it’s next person up … and we have a pretty solid player to put in for her.”
Delaney injured her knee in Tuesday night’s win at Worthington Kilbourne. Baumann, a senior guard, started in place of Delaney against York.
“Christina Baumann is still coming back from knee surgery, so you try not to, on back-to-back nights, let her get a ton of minutes,” Feasel said. “She’s a quality basketball player — a lot of teams would like to have her.
Olentangy wraps up OCC-Capital Division play at home against Mount Vernon Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
“I’m looking forward to Friday night — Senior Night — trying to win 20 games (in the regular season) for the first time in the history of the school. That’s something that we’re trying to shoot for here.”
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.