PORT CLINTON – Oak Harbor coach Tom Kontak called it one of the best halves of basketball by an individual he’s ever coached.
No one who saw it is likely to argue the point.
Rocket junior Andrea Cecil turned in a dominant second-half performance Saturday night, leading Oak Harbor to a 48-40 sectional tournament championship win over Bucyrus.
“In the second half, Andrea Cecil had her number called every time down the floor and took every amount of (Bucyrus’) physically,” Kontak said.
Cecil scored a game-high 26 points, including 14 after halftime with 11 coming in the third quarter, as she gave her team the lead it would never relinquish. She also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
“I didn’t play to my full potential, I don’t think, in that first half,” Cecil said. “I knew my team was counting on me and I had to step up. That’s what I tried to do.”
And that’s just what she did.
Girls Basketball: Oak Harbor Rockets vs. Bucyrus Lady Redmen at Port Clinton High School – Saturday February 28, 2015
After Bucyrus took a 26-22 lead in the first minute of the third quarter, Cecil took over. She answered the Redmen’s run with one her own, scoring the game’s next seven points to re-take the lead for the Rockets.
After Bucyrys answered with a 3-pointer to tie the game, Cecil got some help from Abby Dornbusch. The Rockets’ freshman hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a span of 90 seconds, the second of which was assisted by Cecil, to put Oak Harbor ahead 35-29.
“You have to have that one or two players in a particular game step up and do something magical and that was sort of Abby Dornbush,” Kontak said. “She’s a freshman in her first tournament game, she’s going to be a good one.”
Cecil then closed the quarter four points, giving her 11 and four rebounds in the period as the Rockets took a 39-34 lead into the fourth.
“I was just so happy and impressed with her willingness to play against their physicality because it was not an easy night out there,” Kontak said of Cecil.
Though Bucyrus cut the Rockets’ lead down to just two points with 1:36 to play in the game, Cecil and Maddy Rathbun combined for six free throws down the stretch while the Oak Harbor defense preserved the victory, enabling the Rockets to cut down the net following the game.
“It was awesome,” Dornbush said. “All of your hard work just pays off in that moment when you first cut it.”
Dornbush finished with eight points while Rathbun had six and Emma Barney had five.
“It’s something we worked for all season,” Cecil said of the sectional championship. “We definitely want to cut more nets. This was tough drawn-out, long, physical game. It feels really rewarding to cut the net at the end.”