Clutch baskets, and defence, led the Glendale Gemini senior girls to a 53-48 overtime win last Thursday against Woodstock Huron Park.
Undefeated in the TVRA South East Division, Glendale improved to 4-0, second behind undefeated WCI (6-0).
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Defensively, the greatest challenge Thursday was shutting down Huron Park’s taller players.
“Shutting down the big girls down here,” said Jaime Oliver, pointing to the key area.
“It was hard,” Jordan Oliver nodded, “because they have size on us. Three of them…”
“Well, two really,” said Jaime. “Two or three really important ones.
“We struggled because they had a couple big girls at the top of the key there for a while… and we were struggling to cut through for a bit. Then we changed our offence up and it helped.”
“One of the things we didn’t do well was double the post girl,” said Gemini coach Pam Grass. “We had single coverage on the one big girl. We have to do a better job of doubling, then getting back. It’s a tough concept to learn.”
Huron Park outscored Glendale 14-7 in the third quarter, capitalizing with their press to lead by a couple baskets going into the fourth quarter. But the Gemini, who also won the second quarter, rallied in a see-saw fourth quarter and were leading by three with 22 seconds left when Huron Park hit an under-pressure three-pointer to sent it into OT.
“I think our intensity picked up,” said Jordan. “Even on the bench, the cheering, it just helped us.”
“It’s a game on and off the court,” said Jaime. “When we’re hyped up on the bench and cheering everyone on, it just gets everyone else on the floor excited to keep going. When we get our breakaways it just encourages us to keep going.”
Glendale better managed Huron Park’s fourth-quarter press, countering with a quick transition that resulted in fourth-quarter on-the-run baskets from Jaden Stockmans, adept at finding seams in Huron Park’s ‘D,’ Jenn Demaree converting a two-on-one rush, Grace Gilvesy (rebounding a Stockmans shot) and Jordan Oliver, who cashed in two top-speed ‘breakaway’ layups.
“It’s huge, especially in this game,” said Jaime. “They’re not as fast as us, so making up those points that we lost – it helped us get back in the game.”
Tied 45-45 at the final buzzer, the teams decided it with a four-minute overtime, and there may been flashbacks to last year’s TVRA final when the Huskies eliminated the Gemini – in overtime, same gymnasium.
“They’ve played enough basketball to know that it’s a very long game,” said Grass. “Highs and lows, I always tell them. It’s how you handle the lows.”
“I think we realized we really wanted to beat Huron Park,” said Jaime, “because lost to them last year…”
“In TVRA Finals,” Jordan nodded.
“It was a bit of revenge,” coach Pam Grass smiled. “They are the team that won TVRA and stopped us from going to WOSSAA.”
“And it was our last home game against them, so I think we just really wanted to win it,” said Jaime.
Scoring for Tillsonburg were Jaime Oliver 7, Jaden Stockmans 13, Jenn Demaree 16, Jordan Oliver 6, Grace Gilvesy 6, Kyanne Rogers 3, and Madelyne Cluett 2.