EAST LIVERPOOL, OH- The late Jim Valvano once described NCAA basketball tournament as ‘survive & advance’ in terms of proceeding through the tournament. This phrase accurately describes the Beaver Local Girls Basketball Team.
After trailing for most of the game, the Beavers fought hard to earn a come from behind 45-44 over Cambridge in the East District opening round OHSAA Tournament game on Monday Night. With a team dominated by underclassmen, it was Senior Madison Ours that provided the Beavers with the winning points off of a 3 point field goal with 35 seconds remaining. That was the only points scored by Ours the entire game. ‘I thought I overshot the ball’ Ours said after the game. ‘I heard someone yell not to shoot it right when I let it go. I think Coach (Stephanie Coie) wanted the ball to be passed inside.’ Ours went on to say ‘That was the biggest shot I’ve ever made. If that shot doesn’t go in, we go home.’
Junior Jenna Riccardo, who became the school’s all-time leading scorer last week, lead the Beavers with 21 points, but only 8 points came in the first half. Riccardo said after the game the defense Cambridge played in the first half created problems for her & her team during the first half. ‘They (Cambridge) switched from a 2-2 zone to a 1-3-1 zone & we couldn’t score” Riccardo said.
The Beavers were able to overcome a 19-14 halftime deficit to take a 35-34 lead after 3 quarters. Riccardo went to the free throw line with 1:33 remaining in the 4th quarter down 43-42 with a chance to either give her team the lead. She missed both free throws. ‘I wasn’t nervous’ Riccardo told me after the game. ‘I just didn’t get my legs into either free throw & that’s why both hit the front of the rim.’
After Alexis Wilkinson made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Bobcats a 44-42 lead, it was Ours that gave her team the lead that the Beavers never surrendered. Taylar Slaughter had the ball for Cambridge in the closing seconds but was called for traveling with 4 seconds left. Elizabeth Kolkowski was immediately fouled on the Beavers next possession but missed the front end of a 1 in 1. Alyssa Ball of Cambridge was unable to secure the ball after touching it as Beaver Local Freshman Jensen Britt took control & held the ball in the near corner as time expired, securing the win.
Also contributing to the Beaver Local victory was Freshman Elizabeth Kolkowski with 10 points & 4 rebounds, Junior Riley Britt with 3 points & 4 steals, & Freshman Jensen Britt with 4 points & 2 rebounds.
The Beavers, the 12 seed in the East District, improve to 14-8. They advance to play against the 3 seed Zanesville Maysville Panthers Wednesday Night at 7 PM. Maysville finished their regular season with a record of 16-5.
The Cambridge Bobcats, the 15 seed in the East District, were lead by Taylar Slaughter with 30 points, including 5 shots from beyond the 3 point line. Their season concludes with a 6-16 record.
- STORY BY YSN’S JASON HANNUM