Both the East Knox and Galion girls’ basketball programs have seen their share of struggles this season.
With each team in last place of its respective division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, the crossover game serves as an opportunity for one team to gain some much needed confidence and momentum heading into the final leg of the season.
Galion picked up its fifth win of the season as the Lady Tigers emptied the bench on their way to a 56-30 win over the Lady Bulldogs. Seven Galion players found the scoring column, led by Taylor Valentine with 16 points.
Valentine was a force for Galion on both ends of the floor. Establishing herself in the paint on defense, she was able to deflect passes and get rebounds that led to fast break points. Valentine was not the only Lady Tiger that played an inspired game.
Jamie Ehrman and Natalie Rodriguez contributed to the effort. Ehrman had 10 points and Rodriguez contributed 11, many coming in transition.
“That’s the way we should be every game,” said Galion head coach Nick Vukovich. “Our defense being intense, getting deflections, getting steals, that translates into us getting easy baskets.”
East Knox scored the game’s first basket and never led again. Galion looked sluggish in the early going, missing shots and failing to transition on defense. A time out by Vukovich refocused the girls and pushed them to a 12-4 first quarter lead.
“We didn’t have the right mindset,’ said Vukovich, “I didn’t think we came out focused and it showed.”
Galion extended its lead to 27-12 in the second quarter behind Valentine’s six point effort combined with junior Lauren Huggins five points.
The third quarter saw the Lady Tigers put the game away by outscoring East Knox 22-4 in the period. Shelby Samples scored all four of her team high 13 points for the Lady Bulldogs.
“We have to start strong every time-that’s what we have to focus on,” Vukovich said, in reference to his team’s third quarter performance.
East Knox outscored Galion 14-7 in the fourth quarter, but the outcome was well in hand for the Lady Tigers, who focused on getting every member of the team playing time.
After the game Vukovich focused on the team’s improvement.
“We got the W, we got the win,” he said. “We can work on the little things to get better, teaching the younger kids for next year and the rest of this year.”
Galion’s improved play has the Lady Tigers focused on their four remaining games and a sectional opponent yet to be determined.
“We need to show up and play all four quarters,” Vukovich said.
Galion (4-13, 0-11 MOAC), still searching for its first Red Division win, travels to Marion Harding (9-10, 4-7 MOAC) on Jan. 30.
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