Highland’s defense stifled the host Galion Lady Tigers in a Tuesday night MOAC girls’ basketball game.
In their 49-9 victory over Galion, the Scots pitched a shutout in the first quarter and held a commanding lead the rest of the way. Key to that outcome was tough defense that forced a lot of turnovers and empty trips for the Tiger offense.
“We talk about trying to get three stops in a row,” said Scot coach Matt Bradley. “We call those turkeys and we wanted to get 10-plus turkeys tonight. I think we had six in the first half, so that’s six times where we had three consecutive stops. I thought we played really hard, made it really tough on them and made them really uncomfortable. That was kind of the whole game plan.”
Galion coach Carson Early concurred, noting that with a young and inexperienced team, there will be a lot of growing pains when it comes to adjusting to varsity play.
“We’re just still trying to work on ball-handling,” he said. “We’re a very young team. We’ve got six freshmen and six sophomores and five of them have never played before, so basically about 10-11 freshmen almost. We’re very young, so we’re just trying to get them experience. We know we’re going to be pressed about every game, so it’s just trying to get them used to it.”
Both Aubree Bellamy and Makayla Woods scored five for Highland in the first quarter, as they took a 15-0 lead after eight minutes of play. Bradley noted that he was very pleased with his team’s intensity in the early going.
“We’re going to take nothing for granted,” he said. “I think coach Early does a really good job with his girls. He’s a first-year coach and they have really good momentum and good numbers, so we weren’t taking anything for granted tonight. I thought we came out focused right from the jump and I think that really set the tone.”
That focus continued into the second quarter. Guinevere Jackson opened the period by scoring off an offensive rebound and Shelby Conley and Kate Clements added back-to-back three-pointers. Buckets by Woods and Kameron Stover made it a 27-0 game midway through the quarter.
Galion would get on the board with a Bianca White free throw. After Amarie Morgan hit two from the charity stripe for the Scots, the Tigers then got two points each from Paige Beach and Cameron Eckert to make it a 29-5 game.
Highland would finish the half with buckets from Morgan and Conley to lead by 28 going into the half. They would then open the third with a three-pointer from Conley and shots by Bellamy and Stover to make it 41-5. With the margin being over 35, the game implemented a running clock the rest of the way, as the Scots went on to claim the win.
Eckert led Galion with four points. Early noted that with his program not having a freshman team, he has a lot of players getting a trial by fire at the higher levels.
“They are definitely learning varsity play and it’s a very big step up from the eighth grade,” he said. “I know we tried to get enough to do a freshman team, but it didn’t work out. They’re getting a lot of time, either JV or varsity. We’ve just got to work through the growing pains this year and just keep working hard.”
Highland had balanced scoring in the game. Woods led the team with nine, while Bellamy, Morgan and Conley all scored eight. Overall, eight players provided points in the game, which made their coach happy.
“Another one of our goals was to have 12 or more assists,” he said. “I don’t know what our stats were, but it probably had to be close considering the way we spread it around. I’m just really proud of how we executed all night.”