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Lady Broncos beat Batavia

MT. ORAB – The Western Brown Lady Broncos looked to rally from three straight losses last Thursday, Jan. 28, when the team welcomed the Batavia Lady Bulldogs to town.

Thanks to a solid offensive performance from senior Sugaree Shaffer, the team managed a 42-35 home victory.

Western Brown jumped all over the Lady Bulldogs in the first quarter, out-scoring Batavia 15-8.

The second quarter went to Batavia, as the Lady Broncos’ offense cooled off a tad and the Lady Bulldogs cut the lead to 22-18 at halftime.

Both teams scored 10 points in the third quarter, and the Lady Broncos’ defense turned it on in the fourth, preventing Batavia from getting any closer and sealing a seven-point victory.

Western Brown head coach Dennis Overstake said turnovers were still a problem. The squad was plagued with turnovers during the team’s six-point loss to Anderson the night before.

“We did a little bit better,” Overstake said. “We got down to the last quarter and ended up with about the same amount [as last night]. It was the same problem, we tried to force the ball into situations with passes that weren’t there.”

The difference this time was the team’s defense, according to Overstake.

“Our defense was better,” Overstake said. “Our man-to-man was better than the last game, especially in that fourth quarter. They had two scorers score 27 of their 35 points, so I thought we did a nice job on the other people who played. I thought our girls did a nice job.”

The defense’s ability to limit the Batavia offensive attack helped the Lady Broncos when they had the ball. Overstake said the team’s defense set up his offense with some fast-break chances, which led to a few easy baskets for Western Brown.

“We were able to get into some transitions and get the ball down the floor on several occasions,” Overstake said.

Shaffer’s 12 points led the Lady Broncos. Teammate Lexi Ring added nine, while Hannah Sininger and Nena Taylor scored six and five points, respectively. MacKenzie Brooks and Marissa Wood added four each. Bailie Darnall chipped in a pair to round out the Western Brown total.

Batavia was led by Leona Burton’s 14-point night. Teammate Maggie Mehlman was right behind with 13. No other Lady Bulldog scored more than four points.

The Lady Broncos return to action for their final home game of the 2015-2016 regular season Feb. 4 against Amelia. The game is crucial for seeding in the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference Tournament, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 6 in Felicity.

Western Brown and Amelia each enter the game with a 4-5 record on the season, behind 9-0 Goshen and 5-3 New Richmond in the American Division. Should Western Brown win, they would earn a third-place finish in the conference and a matchup with either Georgetown or Bethel-Tate at 3 p.m. A loss drops the Lady Broncos to fourth place in the American Division and sets up a game against the Williamsburg Lady Wildcats, also at 3 p.m. on Feb. 6.

By Garth Shanklin

Reach Garth Shanklin at 937-378-6161 or follow him on Twitter @GNDShanklin.

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