OAK HARBOR – Emma Barney scored her only bucket of the game to give Oak Harbor the lead for good Tuesday in a 40-37 non-conference victory over Genoa.
The Comets’ Erica Harder drove for a basket before Barney banked in a shot for a 34-33 advantage with 2:07 left. Genoa climbed within one two more times, but the Rockets’ Andrea Cecil scored her team’s final six points from the free throw line.
“Coach puts us in those situations in practice,” Cecil said of the pressure scenario. “He puts us in game situations like that all the time and my teammates look to me to put them in.”
Barney blocked a jumper to end the game.
“We knew if we got down on ourselves, the game could slip out of our hands,” Cecil said of the late deficit. “We made sure to come back up the court and score. Emma Barney played exceptional defense. She may not be happy with two points but she did her job.e
“We’ve been working on stopping the dribble drive and dish. We closed out on their shooters.”
Pickard scored four points, Harder had a three-point play and Haley Gerke added a 3-pointer as Genoa (1-2) finished the third quarter on a 12-0 run for a 29-27 lead. Oak Harbor’s Athena Eli, however, canned a 3-pointer for a 32-29 lead.
“It’s never quit,” Comets coach Mike DeStazio said. “We made a run. It came down to the last possession. Harder played big defensively. Nothing came easy inside for them. She was like the Lone Ranger defensively. She’ll have to play big defensively all year.””
Cecil finished with a game-high 23 points. She made a 3 as Oak Harbor led 25-15 in the third quarter.
Pickard scored a team-high 22 points for Genoa, which visits Otsego on Friday in the Northern Buckeye Conference as part of a difficult early-season schedule.
Oak Harbor (2-0) allowed only three points in the second quarter and led 20-13 at the half. The Rockets defeated the Comets in the postseason but lost the matchup in the regular season last year.
“We showed some defensive toughness I haven’t seen in a while,” Rockets coach Tom Kontak said. “That’s where the length and strength the kids have and their communication stand out. Most every shot they took was contested. Genoa played with grit. You’ll have some off nights offensively. You should never have an off night defensively.”
Oak Harbor 10-10-7-13-40
Genoa: 3-point goals: 1. Scoring: Haley Gerke 1-0-3, Emily Edwards 1-3-5, Haley Pickard 7-8-22, Erica Harder 3-1-7. Totals 12-12-37.
Oak Harbor: 3-point goals: 2. Scoring: Emma Barney 1-0-2, Athena Eli 1-0-3, Andrea Cecil 7-8-23, Logan Harris 3-0-6, Abby Dornbusch 2-2-6. Totals 14-10-40.