Galion stepped out of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference to face backyard rival Shelby at Galion High School Monday night.
The end result was more of the same for the Lady Tigers; a 67-34 defeat was their seventh in a row. The Lady Tigers are still hampered by injury and illness, junior guard Jamie Ehrman did not play at all.
Shelby was “the best team Galion will face this season,” said Galion girls basketball head coach Nick Vukovich.
The Lady Whippets dominated the first quarter, outscoring Galion 29-6, and the team set the tone with full court pressure forcing 14 turnovers and scoring 20 points in the paint, the majority in uncontested layups following a turnover.
Vukovich tried to settle his squad during a timeout, urging them “to play hard and protect the basketball.
Since most of the turnovers occurred when the lady Tigers attempted to dribble, Vukovich emphasized that players “should catch the ball and square up to see the floor-don’t put the ball on the floor.”
Galion tried to pressure Shelby early in the game, using a 2-2-1 press which they worked on in practice. But without the normal personnel in the game the tactic was not as effective as hoped.
The defensive pressure Shelby applied was nothing new to Galion.
“Everything we saw we’ve seen before- we saw it at North Union at River Valley and Jonathan Alder,” said Vukovich. “They didn’t do anything we haven’t already seen- we’re still in the mindset of getting past the name on the jersey.”
After the first quarter frenzy Shelby settled into a half court game, occasionally applying the full-court press, mostly pressuring the ball at the half court line.
Galion defended well in the half court, but a decided size advantage for Shelby allowed the Lady Whippets to dominate inside. Offensively Galion missed on a number of scoring opportunities in the quarter as Shelby extended the lead to 45-11 at the half.
Following the intermission Galion came out more aggressive on defense, fighting for loose balls and getting offensive rebounds.
The Lady Tigers hauled down 20 rebounds, 10 on offensive and 10 on defense. Freshman post Gracie Groves led the team with seven total boards.
Shelby scored 15 points in the third quarter, 14 inside the paint, to go ahead 60-16.
In the fourth quarter Galion played, what may have been their best basketball during the current losing streak. The effort didn’t go unnoticed by the head coach.
“The second half we finally started playing like we did the first three games of the year, which we won. The effort overall, the intensity level, the aggressiveness overall, that’s what I was happy with,” said Vukovich.
The Lady Tigers scored 17 points and held Shelby to seven in the final period.
Guards Kennadie Goth and Jackie Goth led Shelby with 15 points each, Maddie Fidler added 13.
Galion was led by Taylor Valentine and Robin Barnes who both had eight points. Gracie Groves and Julie Clouse each scored six points for the Lady Tigers.
As the Lady Tigers get set to end 2015 and head into 2016 Vukovich stresses the positive.
“We have some games coming up I think we can be competitive in and win, that’s what we’re going to focus on,” he said.
Galion hopes to rebound against Northmor on Dec. 30.