OLD FORT – Old Fort coach Jenny Miller was thoroughly upset when her team blew a second-half lead against Division III foe Oak Harbor three weeks ago at home.
The Stockaders learned their lesson.
Against a similar opponent in Genoa on Tuesday, Allison Adelsperger and Jordan Magers combined to score 32 points with 19 rebounds as Old Fort defeated the Comets, 61-55.
“I was really proud of my team to get this win,” Miller said. “It’s a big win heading into the tournament next week.”
Adelsperger had 19 points and nine rebounds while Magers added a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Peyton Miller chipped in 12 points and four rebounds in the win.
“I thought we played really good defense and played really intense on defense,” Peyton Miller said. “We worked our offense and moved the ball around against their zone and got the open shots.”
The Stockaders (16-5) used a 16-10 edge in the third quarter to take an eight-point lead entering the fourth. Old Fort stretched the lead to 53-40 on two free throws and a bucket from Adelsperger with 5:09 left in the fourth quarter.
The Comets (17-4) whittled away at the deficit and got it to five on a score from Erica Harder with 57 seconds left. Genoa had the chance to cut it one possession after one of Old Fort’s 25 turnovers but failed to convert.
“We knew we had to come out hard and finish even stronger in the final minutes in that fourth quarter, knowing two of our starters and ball-handlers fouled out,” Old Fort senior Sammy Miller said.
Genoa coach Mike DeStazio said one thing really hurt his team.
“I thought the missed free throws is what stuck out in the fourth quarter,” said DeStazio, whose team was 9-19 at the line. “I thought we turned them over but I just don’t think we got the big shot. They made their free throws and we didn’t. They’re a good team.”
Opting to run more of a 2-3 zone defense rather than standard man-to-man may have done the Comets in, DeStazio said.
“Our press was effective a little bit but when we went straight man, I thought we turned them over,” he said. “If we weren’t playing (tomorrow night) against Otsego (for Northern Buckeye Conference championship), you would’ve seen a full-court man the whole night but I thought it was a gamble to do that.”
Sammy Miller had eight points and three rebounds off the bench for Old Fort, including two big 3-pointers.
“Sammy is a good shooter,” Jenny Miller said. “She’s been under the radar the past few games. I’m glad she was able to come in and hit those 3-pointers.”
Pickard did her best to keep the Comets in the game scoring 18 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. Harder backed her with 17 points and nine rebounds.