JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Okaw Valley girls basketball notched a couple of recent wins, one against Heritage on Wednesday, 50-42. But on Thursday, they had to face a regional #1 seed in Tri-County. Okaw had a valiant effort, posting good 2nd and 4th period comebacks, but still losing by eight, 51-43.
Okaw Valley squandered free throw attempts, making just 10-of-20. But the still had a 2-point edge at the line. They also were out-shot from the arc 6 to 2 for a 12-point disadvantage. However, the T’Wolves made up for it from close range, out-scoring Heritage 34-16 from inside the arc. That was the difference in the ball game.
Okaw and Heritage almost played even early, with Okaw leading by a point after on, 12-11. Heritage then had a 9-4 run in the 2nd as Okaw struggled to score. Heritage led by four at the break, 20-16.
Okaw’s Amanda McClain broke loose in the 3rd and led an Okaw 13-9 run with four scores by herself. That knotted the score heading into the final showdown, 29-29.
An Okaw onslaught left heritage wondering what hit them in the final 8:00. Heritage had four deuces, a trey and 2-of-2 at the line for 13 points, but Okaw erupted for 21 points as they pulled away from Heritage. Abigail Weybright scored three times. McClain scored twice and made 2-of-4 at the line. Shelby Dash scored twice and Amy Orris sank a 3-pointer and 2-of-3 foul shots.
Amanda McClain led Okaw with 16 points, scoring seven times from the field with 10 of her 16 coming in the 3rd and 14 of her 16 coming in the 2nd half. Weybright followed with 12 points, 6 of 12 coming in the 4th. Amy Orris was the third T’Wolf in double figures, scoring 5 of her 10 in the 4th period.
Heritage’s McCormick led all-scorers with 18 points, including a quartet of treys. Happ followed with 10 points.
Okaw Valley 50, Heritage 42
Okaw stats: McClain 16 (7 FGs, 2/4 FTs), Weybright 12 (5 FGs, 2/4 FTs), Dash 6 (3 FGs), Decesaro 4 (FG, 2/2 FTs), Orris 10 (1-2, 2-3 pt FGs, 2/3 FTs), Harlin 1 (1/4 FTs), Herold 1 (1/3 FTs). Team FGs 19. 3-Pointers: 2 (Orris). Team FTs 10-of-20.
Heritage stats: McCormick 18 (2-2s, 4-3 pt FGs, 2/2 FTs), Happ 10 (4 FGs, 2/2 FTs), Lannon 7 (1-2, 1-3 pt FGs, 2/2 FTs), Westerfield 5 (1-2, 1-3 pt FGs), Nickelson 2 (2/2 FTs), Baxter (0/4 FTs). Team FGs 14. 3-Pointers: 6 (McCormick 4, Lannon, Westerfield). Team FTs 8-of-12.
On Thursday, Okaw’s fortunes were reversed, losing by eight.
Okaw slipped behind early, paced by just a solo trey by Mollee Decesaro and a deuce from Weybright. Tri-County got five buckets and 4-of-6 foul shooting from four different players for a 14-5 lead.
Okaw fought back in the 2nd with a 14-point effort. McClain got going again like she did against heritage. She scored all eight of her points in the 2nd from the floor. Weybright had a two and 2-of-2 at the line and Paige Harlin sank a pair of free throws.
Tri-County got three scores from Amber Meyer and two from Abby Smith, but they had their lead trimmed to six points at the break, 25-19.
T-C extended their lead out to 12 points in the 3rd. Decesaro hit her second trey and Orris dialed in from deep. Harlin had a bucket, but that was it. T-C got two more scores from Meyer, two from Kyla Skinner, a bucket and 1-of-3 free throws from Autumn Meyer, and a two and 1-of-2 free throws from Smith for a 14-8 run. T-C led 39-27 going into the final frame.
Down the stretch, Okaw tried to make a late run like they did against Heritage. They just had too much ground to make up.
Weybright connected from long distance twice and had a deuce for 8 of her team-high 14 in the 4th. Orris also had a par of treys and a deuce for 8 of her 11 points in crunch time. They accounted for a 16-point burst.
However, Tri-County scored a dozen to hold off the comeback. Amber Meyer got to the line four times and made 8-of-8 free throws. They only got two buckets, one from Madelyn Cottle and one from Skinner. It was enough to hold on to the win, even though their lead was trimmed.
Okaw had two players in double figures, Weybright and Orris, with 14 and 11, respectively. Weybright had two treys and Orris a trey hat trick. McClain finished with eight. Tri-County finished with three players in double figures. Amber Meyer had a game-high 18, Smith had a dozen, and Skinner had ten.
Tri-County made no 3-pointers, but was 15-of-24 at the line. Okaw had seven 3-pointers for a 21-point advantage from the arc. Okaw had just four throws the whole game, made them all, but still had an 11-point disadvantage at the line.
Okaw had a 10-point advantage from the line and the arc, but Tri-County made double the shots in close, 18 to 9, for an 18-point edge and enough cushion for the win.
Okaw Valley (7-16) is the A&M 1A Regional #3 seed and plays #2 seeded Arcola on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Tri-County 51, Okaw Valley 43
Okaw stats: Weybright 14 (3-2s, 2-3 pt FGs, 2/2 FTs), Orris 11 (1-2, 3-3 pt FGs), McClain 8 (4 FGs), Decesaro 6 (2-3 pt FGs), Harlin 4 (FG, 2/2 FTs). Team FGs 16. 3-Pointers: 7 (Orris 3, Weybright 2, Decesaro 2). Team FTs 4-of-4.
T-C stats: Am. Meyer 18 (5 FGs, 8/8 FTs), Smith 12 (5 FGs, 2/4 FTs), Skinner 10 (5 FGs, 0/2 FTs), Au. Meyer 6 (FG, 4/7 FTs), Ami Meyer 2 (FG), Cottle 2 (FG, 0/1 FTs). Whitney Bennett 1 (1/2 FTs). Team FGs 18 (0-3s). Team FTs 15-of-24.