By Michael Rich
The Olentangy Liberty girls basketball team used an 11-2 start and a pair of 6-0 spurts in the third quarter to overcome a pesky Marysville team 62-46 in OCC-Central play Tuesday night in Powell.
“It’s still a process,” Liberty coach Sam Krafty said. “Look at our fourth game last year … we had to come back from a 19-point deficit in the first half to win.”
The Patriots (4-0, 3-0 OCC) opened the game on a three by Bre Yashko and another by Alexa Fisher. They extended the lead as high as 11 at 15-4 after a Yashko basket.
“We got off to a hot start,” Krafty said.
Yashko scored a game-high 19 points and had 5 steals for Liberty.
“(Yashko) is very, very improved, is a hard worker and is really doing a good job for us,” Krafty said. “She gives us (another) point guard. Bre’s more than capable of getting us in and out of what we want to do.”
Lauren Hofer, Fisher and Harrop added nine each. Savitha Jayaraman had five rebounds, four steals and four blocks.
“We’ve had Fisher for three practices and two games now,” Krafty said. “You’ve got to realize that this is her second competition in eight months, and if you know anything about her, she’s very hard on herself.
“She’s trying to do a little bit too much. She’s trying to do everything a lot faster than what she needs to. It’s just a matter of slowing it down and letting the game come to her. When she does … look out.”
Marysville held a 29-19 advantage on the boards, which included a 19-11 edge at the half, which helped it keep it close.
“There’s a lot of stuff to fix,” Krafty said. “The kids know that and the coaches know that. We have to rebound. We lost two kids that played very, very hard and rebounded very well for us.”
The Monarchs (3-2, 1-2) cut the Liberty lead down to three twice late in the first half, lastly on a run-out on a Taylor Eberhart rebound. Kinzi Lee found Daryn Stiers underneath for the layup.
“Marysville always plays us tough,” Krafty said. “Last year, Marysville had us down 10 in the third quarter on this floor. Our league is good … you gotta bring it every night. You gotta focus on the task at hand and there are no gimmes.”
Yashko responded with her second three-pointer of the period to give Liberty a 28-22 lead and close out the scoring in the first half.
Harrop, Yashko and Hofer scored on consecutive possessions to extend a five-point lead to 11 early in the third quarter.
Sydney Englehart scored six straight points at the end of the period, including a buzzer-beating jumper to give the Patriots a 43-30 lead after three.
Kayley Gordon had 14 three-pointers coming into the game, including a school-record seven in the Monarchs’ previous game at Westland. She also had five in the opener at Hilliard Davidson.
The Patriots defended the arc well, though, holding the Monarchs to two threes and only one by Gordon.
“I think she hit one and it was in transition,” Krafty said. “Katie Harrop, for us tonight, really, really did a great job and was instrumental in us getting out of here with a win.”
Eberhart led Marysville with 13 points and seven rebounds. Stiers scored 11 points and had seven rebounds and four assists.
Liberty hosts Upper Arlington Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.