“It wasn’t a real pretty win, especially in the first half, but I have a lot of young players and they finally adjusted to the size of the court and I think we just wore them down by the end of the game,” Ohatchee coach Lori Lloyd said. “We’ll take it as a win.”
After struggling offensive throughout most of the first half, Ohatchee (9-5) exploded 17-4 run during the entirety of the third quarter.
“I think I scared them half to death with halftime speech,” Lloyd said. “I think they were also a little scared of practice tomorrow and finally adjusted and calmed down.”
The scare was necessary if the Indians were going to win the game after seeing their early 4-0 lead slip away. Weaver (5-14) took over more due to its defense than shooting and led most of the first quarter and all of the second.
“We practiced for about three days on the game plan,” Bearcats coach Gary Atchley. “I thought we played well in the first half.”
However, with a 20-18 lead at halftime and the game up in the air, Atchley said his team didn’t “execute” on offense or defense in the second half.
“I thought we took some quick shots and that’s because we got tired,” he added. “A lot of this, I hate to use this excuse, is youth. We’re still trying to play together and we’re starting to see some things that we haven’t been seeing.”
It was also not a coincidence that Ohatchee’s wheels began turning following the return of its star offensive player, Joria Steger.
“That was the whole struggle offensively in the first half,” Lloyd said. “She had two quick fouls. But if I was the opposing coaches, that’s exactly what I would do. We completely slow down when she’s not in the game.”
However, the lone dark spot as the Indians took control of the game in the third quarter came when Morgan Lee was fouled hard on a fast break. The sophomore walked off the court under her own power, but did not return to the game.
“They’re still looking at her,” Lloyd said. “She may be concussed or have whiplash.”
Ohatchee will face third-seeded Piedmont, who defeated Wellborn, 64-5, earlier in the day on Thursday at 4 p.m.
“We’ve played them twice already and haven’t had much luck with them,” Lloyd said. “We don’t have much of an inside presence and they have two really good post players. We’re going to do our best with them. Hopefully we’ll come up with something different by Thursday.”
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.