By Michael Rich
Buckeye Valley used a 6-0 spurt in the third quarter to gain control en route to a 48-38 victory over visiting Bexley in the first round of the Division II district girls basketball tournament Monday night in Delaware.
Logan Hatcher led the Barons with 20 points and 15 rebounds and Megan Veneman scored four of the six points and assisted on a basket during the 6-0 run midway through the third quarter that broke a 21-21 tie.
“Logan played really well,” BV coach Landon Fraker said. “Our offense in the second half was to shoot it, miss it and let Logan get the rebound and put it in … and it worked. She’s a good basketball player. It’s been nice to see her play well these last two or three games.”
Hatcher said that she wanted to win for Barons senior Jo Anne Leienberger after BV lost on Senior Night Saturday.
“We love her to death — we played for her,” Hatcher said. “(The win) gives us confidence to go on in the tournament and keep playing for our senior.”
BV outscored the Lions 17-9 in the third quarter, but outscored them 14-5 in the final four and a half minutes to take control.
Fraker said a key to the rally was solid defense by Gabrielle Legg and Lisa Leienberger in the final minutes on Maddy Vincent. Vincent had a game-high 23 points, which included all nine of the Lions’ points in the third quarter.
“I thought we did a better job of getting Vincent corralled in the second half — we didn’t stop her, but we got her corralled,” Fraker said. “You don’t always have to stop someone, you just have to wear her down, and I thought that’s what (Legg and Leienberger) did. You could see it in her shot late in the game.”
Veneman found Hatcher underneath to start the run before scoring the next two baskets on a pair of steals — one by Tess Hughes, who had a game-high four steals, and the other on her own theft.
“She’s an attacker — that’s what she does,” Fraker said. “I think that’s when she’s at her best — attacking the basket.”
Then, Hatcher made good on a pair of put-backs before Veneman found Morgan Scowden for three late in the period to extend the lead to 10 before leading 35-26 at the end of three.
“We have to dominate the boards — that’s our strength with our post players,” Hatcher said.
The Barons (13-10) pushed the lead to as much as 15 midway through the fourth. Vincent scored Bexley’s final six points in the final minutes to help get it back to 10.
Veneman finished with 11 points and four assists and Hughes helped out with eight rebounds.
It looked like BV was going to pick up where it left off last Monday’s game against the Lions when it closed 15-5 to win 38-26 at Bexley.
Hatcher and Alaina Radcliffe scored all nine points for the Barons in a 9-2 start. They led 13-7 after one.
The Lions (12-11) held BV to five points in the second quarter as Vincent and Emma Dressel paced them offensively. The Barons led 18-17 at the break.
Lauren Woodford had seven rebounds and four steals and Williams pitched in five rebounds for Bexley.
Buckeye Valley travels to fifth-seed Linden McKinley in the second round Friday night at 7 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.