Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
WARDSVILLE — The Blair Oaks girls basketball team entered Thursday’s game against Warsaw with hopes of securing a four-game winning streak and a winning record.
The Lady Falcons took a 15-point lead at halftime, but coming out of the locker room they decided to take the game into their own hands.
Employing a full-court press. Blair Oaks forced turnovers on five straight possessions in the beginning of what turned out to be a huge third quarter in the 67-34 win.
“They seemed a little more fired-up at halftime,” coach Kevin Kohler said. “They react really well to halftime adjustments and stuff, so hopefully they’ll get something from that.”
Blair Oaks put up 27 points in the third quarter to ensure a running clock for all of the fourth.
With the win, Blair Oaks inched above .500.
“We’re 8-7 now, and that was hard going,” said Kohler, who is in his first year as Blair Oaks’ coach.
As suffocating as the Lady Falcons’ defense was, their third-quarter shooting was just as good. Blair Oaks hit its first six shots out of halftime, with three free throws thrown in for good measure.
“Hopefully they’ll get some confidence out of it,” Kohler said.
After Warsaw scored five quick points out of halftime, Blair Oaks embarked on a 13-0 run in the span of 21/2 minutes. Warsaw wouldn’t get within 20 the rest of the game.
The press was so effective, Kohler had to call it off. The win was Blair Oaks’ second in running-clock fashion of the season, both of which came against Warsaw.
“It’s nice to get a nice win,” Kohler said. “I feel for (Warsaw). I’ve been on the other end of that, so I know what that feels like. We tried not to press them too much beyond what we felt like we needed to, but they didn’t lay down. They didn’t quit.”
The entire Lady Falcons bench saw playing time.
“There’s been a whole lot of games where the end of the bench hasn’t had the opportunity to get in,” Kohler said, “so it’s important for them just to get in, even if it is just for a couple minutes. They enjoy that.”
Kellie Fredendall led all scorers with 16 points and all rebounders with eight. Macyn Wilbers scored 15 points and Sarah Wolken had 11. Blair Oaks kept every Warsaw player to single-digit scoring totals.
Blair Oaks looks to keep its winning record intact when it hosts School of the Osage on Monday.
“Well, we’ve won four in a row, and that’s a big deal for us. Osage is tough, tough, so that’ll be hard to make it five,” Kohler said. “But that’ll be our goal, to try to get five in a row. It’ll be a home game and see what we can do with them. They’re tough and they press and play up-tempo and we’ll have to be on top of our game to compete with them.”
In Thursday night’s JV game, Blair Oaks jumped out to a 35-15 lead at the half in a 64-23 victory.
Kayla Jones and Makenna Kliethermes had 13 points each for Blair Oaks (7-2), while Claire Heckman added 11.