On Friday, November 18, Batavia’s girls basketball team accomplished something no other Lady Bulldog squad had done for nine years.
Batavia’s 40-35 win over the Williamsburg Lady Wildcats gave the team back-to-back wins in the series for the first time since taking a pair of games in 2013. They did so with stifling defense early and just enough offense late to pull out the win.
Head coach Ryan Ogletree was proud of his team’s effort in the contest even though the ending wasn’t as smooth as he had hoped.
“It went pretty well,” Ogletree said. “It was kind of disappointing how it ended, we were on a roll. I wanted to be able to complete a full game. I’m pretty happy with where things are, it’s still early in the season. They have room to grow.”
The victory marked Ogletree’s first win as a varsity head coach.
“It feels good,” Ogletree said. “I’m not really in it for the wins and losses, I’m just there to compete and help girls get better. If the girls are getting better, enjoying playing and working hard, that’s what I’m all about.”
Both teams put up eight points in the first quarter. The next two periods belonged to the visitors as the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Lady Wildcats 22-6 in the second and third quarters.
Williamsburg clawed their way back into the game in the fourth period, holding a 21-10 advantage. The Lady Wildcats simply ran out of time.
“We came back, made it a five-point game,” Williamsburg head coach Tracy Rieke said. “That says a lot about our girls, if we can string four quarters together I think we’ll be in good shape down the road.”
Macy McHenry led Batavia with nine points. She also had four assists. Lucy Thompson tallied seven points and five rebounds, tied for the team lead with Tori South and Ellie Poynter.
“I thought at times we looked good [offensively],” Ogletree said. “We moved the ball well, we shared the ball well. Just about everybody on the team scored, it was a balanced attack.”
Poynter scored six points. Paula Lugo Santgo and South scored five each. Landrie Layman and Jada Shepherd finished with four points apiece. Shepherd recorded a team-best three blocks.
Batavia has three players that measure at least 5 feet, 10 inches tall. That made things difficult inside for the Lady Wildcats.
“They have some big girls in there,” Rieke said. “We’ve talked about ball fakes, we just haven’t figured that piece out yet. You know what a little ball fake can do against taller girls who want to block shots. That’s something we’ll definitely focus on.”
Unofficially, Williamsburg’s offensive output was topped by Brooklyn Applegate, who scored 10 points. Maggie carver and Sophie Humphries scored seven points each. Maggie Arno and Ava Watts tallied four points apiece with Rachel Moore scoring three for the Lady Wildcats.
Final turnover stats for the Lady Wildcats were unavailable at press time, but Batavia recorded 13 steals.
“We’re young,” Rieke said. “That’s a key focus this season, limiting our turnovers. We’ve talked about it every day in practice, we need our guards to be able to step up and be calm with the ball and handle pressure, eliminate some of those turnovers.”
On Monday, November 28, the Lady Wildcats travel to Blanchester for a Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference National Division tilt. Batavia returns to action that same night against Bethel-Tate in Bethel.