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Northwestern pulls away late for 53-30 win at Oak Hill

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

MIER--Defense was the theme Wednesday night at Oak Hill High School, as the Class 2A top-ranked Golden Eagles hosted 3A No. 1 - and third ranked in all classes - Northwestern.

Both teams showed up for and it was exactly that through most of the four quarters. A cold shooting-fourth quarter doomed Oak Hill as Northwestern pulled away for what the score says was an easy, 53-30 win.

It was far from easy for the Tigers.

There aren't many teams on Oak Hill's schedule that can deploy full-court pressure they way the Tigers can, and its something the Golden Eagles have struggled against. Northwestern blitzed Oak Hill with its pressure in the 2017 matchup, building an early 15-0 lead and never looking back in its 56-34 win on Jan. 11 last year. Fort Wayne South did the same to Oak Hill on Dec. 22, forcing more than 30 turnovers in its 59-45 win.

However, Oak Hill handled Northwestern's pressure early on, and jumped out to a 7-2 lead just over six minutes into the game before Madison Layden, one of the state's front-runners for Miss Basketball 2020 started making her impact.

Layden sparked an 8-1 run to end the opening eight minutes and give the Tigers a 10-8 lead. 

"We competed. I loved the way we came out," said Oak Hill coach Todd Law. "We attacked from the start. What I just talked to them about in (the locker room) is we've faced three or four really good teams that press full court in the last year, and we have worked a lot of hours on it, and they executed and ran them out of their press. I was very proud of that."

Indeed, Northwestern backed out of its full court pressure for most of the rest of the game and mixed a half-court trapping zone with man-to-man.

Jenessa Hasty scored the first field goal of the second quarter then ran down a long offensive rebounds and drained a 3-pointer from the left corner giving the Golden Eagles a 13-11 lead with just under five minutes to play in the first half. After sophomore Kendall Bostic scored four straight for the Tigers, Hasty swished home another triple giving Oak Hill its last lead of the night at 16-15 three mintues before halftime.

Northwestern finished the half with a 7-1 run and Bostic's putback just before the buzzer staked the Tigers to a 22-17 halftime advantage.

Oak Hill stayed in the fight and trailed by just five points before Northwestern scored five quick points to go in front 33-23 just over four minutes into the third. The Tigers took a 36-27 lead into the fourth.

Bostic scored the first points of the fourth, but Adrianna Trexler answered right back for Oak Hill to keep the differential nine less than a minute in, but that would be the only field goal of the fourth quarter for the Eagles.

Layden drained a 3-pointer sparking 11 straight points for the Tigers and Northwestern outscored Oak Hill 13-1 in the final seven minutes to pull away for the decisive win.

"This was a great game on both ends," said Northwestern coach Kathie Layden. "The defensive pressure that (Oak Hill) applied, especially in the first half, it took us some time to adjust to that and I thought they came out with a great gameplan. They're number one for a reason, they made us work for every basket.

"Madison did a really good half in the first half, when we were struggling she kind of took over at times," she added.

The 6-foot Madison Layden led all scorers with 21 points, 12 coming in the first half. She also handed out five assists, grabbed four rebounds and added five steals.  She hit 6 of 12 from the floor and 6 of 7 from the foul line. 

"What she did today that we've not seen her do a lot, she's a tremendous three-point shooter, is she got to the basket," Law said. "She hit a lot of runners and floaters inside, then when we had to go man at the end it took away the helpside because we have to realy get out an pressure on the perimeter then they were lobbing it in to (Taylor) Boruff and (Bostic)."

Bostic, a 6-1 post-player, ended with 18 and Boruff came off Northwestern's bench to finish with 11.

Hasty scored all 11 of her points in the first half to lead Oak Hill. Trexler finished with seen, Kristin Dubois added five, Taylor Westgate had four and Kaela Robey finished with three.

Westgate and Robey each had five rebounds and Oak Hill out-boarded the Tigers, 20-18. Hasty added four boards and three steals.

Northwestern won the turnover department, 18-7

 

"The second thing I was very proud of was what we did on the boards with them," Law  said. "We outrebounded them by two, had nine offensive rebounds so we fought there. We had more second chance points than they did. I was very pleased, I just felt like we got to the fourth quarter and we could not get a shot to go in."

Oak Hill (15-2) has little time to think about the loss, and Law is pleased with that. The Golden Eagles host Eastbrook at 7:30 p.m. tonight in game moved up from Saturday because of the impending winter storm.

"I loved their effort. I loved the way they fought tonight," Law said. "No negatives coming out of tonight, other than we've got to now, we've got to put this behind us and we've got to get ready for Eastbrook."