WEST LIBERTY – WL-S fought off a pesky Mechanicsburg team and beat the Indians, 46-30, in OHC girls basketball on Wednesday.
It was exactly the kind of game that a contender like West Liberty-Salem – the 10th-ranked team in the state in Division III – wants as a tune-up before the tournament starts.
“They played really well. We didn’t shoot the ball well and we turned it over more than we usually do. I think we got a little flustered there,” WL-S Coach Dennis McIntosh said. “But I told them there’s going to be nights like this, where you have turnovers like you usually don’t have and don’t make shots. And you’ve just got to battle through it. Luckily, we got to halftime and still had the lead.”
Mechanicsburg (12-8, 10-5) looked like the better team early, pressing WL-S defensively and pushing the tempo.
But the Indians fell behind, 13-5, on the scoreboard thanks to a trio of three-pointers from the Tigers in the first period. They finished with six bombs for the game.
The visitors roared back in the second quarter, closing the gap to 23-19 at the intermission with a little more potent offensive showing.
The Tigers opened it back up in the third, with their natural athleticism beginning to pay dividends against a tiring and foul-plagued Indians’ team. Morgan Hamby was forced to the bench with four fouls early in the third quarter and the Indians didn’t make a field goal until just before the buzzer sounded.
“We just didn’t score. In the third quarter, we came out and laid an egg,” MHS Coach Christie Dodane said. “We’ve been working on defense, and I thought we came out very strong. But if you can’t score, (you can’t win).”
Meanwhile, West Liberty-Salem (18-3, 15-0) heated up and finally found the bottom of the net a few times.
“I thought we regrouped in the second half – especially in the third quarter. We got some stops and were able to hold them,” McIntosh said.
Kelsey Day had 10 points, Grace Estes had 9, Gabby Hollar had 7 and Selena Weaver added 7 for WL-S. Grace Forrest finished with 16 points for the Indians.
In the jayvee game, WL-S won, 38-25. Gabby Williams had 16 points for the Tigers.
Mechanicsburg plays at Fairbanks on Friday while WL-S – which has won 18 straight games – hosts West Jefferson tonight.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.