Despite a gritty second-half effort the Galion girls basketball team lost 52-30 to Buckeye Valley.
The Lady Tigers were unable to overcome the Lady Baron’s strong post play and its poor shooting in Mid Ohio Athletic Conference action. It was Galion’s third consecutive loss following a 3-0 start.
Buckeye Valley had a discernible size advantage over Galion and used it effectively on both ends of the floor, posting up on offense and playing a very aggressive man-to-man defense.
The Barons jumped out to a 20-5 lead in the first quarter, scoring 16 points in the paint. Galion was limited by turnovers on the offensive end of the floor, only scoring one field goal and three free throws in the quarter.
Between quarters Galion girls head basketball coach Nick Vukovich tried to rally his team stressing “moving feet on defense” and “squaring up and attacking the basket” offensively. He also addressed effort, exhorting the girls “to run up and down the floor.”
Buckeye Valley looked to take the life out of the Tigers in the second quarter. Dominating in the paint, they scored 14 points inside, and employing a full-court press. Galion had no answer on defense but they were effective in breaking the press by passing.
The Tigers preseason practice against the press was evident.
“That’s the thing we hit hard (full-court press) in the preseason-breaking the press and dealing with pressure-passing through it instead of dribbling through it,” Vukovich said.
Down 36-12 at the half, Galion came out and stepped up its defensive effort, forcing the Lady Barons to take more perimeter shots than preferred. The Tigers outscored Buckeye Valley in the second half 18-16.
The team continued to pass through the press but they were unable to, “reward ourselves at the other end,” Vukovich said. Missed layups have been a nemesis for the Tigers all season and the trend continued.
The girls’ effort wasn’t lost on its coach.
“We picked it up in the second half – the girls realized that they can compete – that was the difference. The first quarter was rough-the second quarter was rougher, but the second half was better,” Vukovich said.
Senior wing Taylor Valentine was the Tigers’ leading scorer dropping nine points on the Barons. Senior guard Jamie Ehrman added eight points.
Buckeye Valley was led by freshman guard Carissa Nickell with 12 points. Three Lady Barons had double digit point totals.
The Tigers (3-3, 0-3 MOAC) travel to play conference foe North Union (5-1, 3-0 MOAC) on Friday.