BELLBROOK — The Bellbrook girls (5-3, 4-1 Southwestern Buckeye League, Southwestern Division) started slow in their final game before the winter break against Oakwood (5-5, 2-2 (SWBL Southwestern) Saturday, but a strong defensive effort and some solid post play led to a convincing win for the Golden Eagles, 47-36.
When the first quarter started, Bellbrook coach Jason Tincher said that it didn’t seem like his girls were fully focused on the game, and it showed. The Lady Eagles had trouble finishing plays and they had some sloppy ball movement. Defensively, they had trouble stopping Oakwood from penetrating.
“What we’ve been trying to focus on is the process of trying to get better before Christmas because now we’ve got a little break,” said Tincher. “We’ve been talking about trying not to go backwards, not to stay the same, but trying to improve a little bit on how we’ve been playing. We’ve had some tough games against some tough opponents.”
The slow play continued into the second quarter. Tincher was forced to call a timeout after an errant inbounds pass went soaring out of bounds, turning the ball over to Oakwood. Bellbrook was down 16-10 with almost six minutes left in the half.
Whatever he said in the timeout worked, because the Lady Eagles would finish the half on a 12-3 run, and took a 22-19 lead going into the locker room.
“We always talk about when that ball has trouble going in, we better be good defensively. It didn’t show up early, I thought our enthusiasm and our passion was a little lacking, but I thought they picked it up there towards the end of the second quarter,” said Tincher.
Things really turned around for Bellbrook in the third quarter, when their defense stiffened up and shots started falling. They outscored the Jills 12-3 in the quarter, giving them a 34-22 lead going into the fourth.
Bellbrook had been throwing the ball inside to senior center Chea Taylor all night, but she only had four points in the first half. She really got going in the second half though, scoring six points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth to finish with 18 points and nine rebounds. Tincher said his team is best when they play inside out.
“We have a lot of really good shooters along with Chea too, so we like to isolate her a lot because she is a special talent, but we do have a good surrounding cast of shooters around her and some others that like to go in and rebound,” he said.
Other standout performances from Bellbrook were senior Emily Smith with 10 points and seven rebounds on the night and Lexie Seger. Smith also had two key blocks in the fourth quarter and some transition baskets that helped swing the momentum in Bellbrook’s favor. Junior guard Seger also added 11 points, with some clutch three point shots.
Another reason Bellbrook was able to extend the lead was their ability to shutdown Oakwood’s sophomore shooting guard, Courtney Eggleston. She had a strong start to the game with seven points in the first quarter and 10 in the first half. They were able to stop her from penetrating and held her scoreless for the third quarter. While she picked it up in the fourth, scoring eight points to finish the game with a total of 18, it wasn’t enough to get her team the win.
Tincher was just happy that his team finished strong.
“I was happy tonight with our effort. I thought we executed some of our offensive and defensive schemes,” he said. “So I thought overall, we did some nice things. We held them to 34 points which is not too bad. That’s been a focus for us, defensively.”
The Lady Eagles aren’t in action again until 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4 when they visit Monroe.