CINCINNATI – Looking at the bracket for the Division II girls’ basketball sectional at Withrow High School, you’d notice that the Western Brown Lady Broncos and the Taylor Lady Jackets are seeded fairly close to each other. On paper, it’d appear a game between the two teams would be fairly close.
However, they don’t play the games on paper. When the two teams hit the court on Saturday night, it was anything but close.
Western Brown jumped out to a 14 point lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back, defeating Taylor 52-32 in their sectional opener.
Head coach Dennis Overstake said the win shows exactly how dangerous his team could have been this season.
“That’s what we’ve been capable of all year,” Overstake said. “We just haven’t been able to do it until these last five games. We’ve been able to get out and run, and we really open the ballgame up that way.”
The Lady Broncos trailed 3-2 less than two minutes into the game. It would be the only time they trailed the entire contest. Mackenzie Brooks hit a basket for the Broncos, putting them ahead 4-3 and sparking a 17-2 run to give the team the lead for good.
Brooks finished the quarter with 12 points. She added four more in the second quarter, helping the Lady Broncos take a 32-15 lead into halftime.
“When you get up that quickly on someone, one of two things are going to happen,” Overstake said. “You’re either going to continue to play that way, or they’re going to step up and stop you from doing that.”
The team carried the momentum through the third quarter, out-scoring Taylor 12-7. Six different Lady Broncos scored in the frame.
In the fourth, the team turned things over to some of the reserves. Marissa Wood scored three of the team’s nine points in the frame while Sugaree Shaffer added four.
Western Brown shot 20 free-throws in the game, hitting just 11 of them. Taylor went to the line just twice the entire game, something that Overstake credits to his team’s defensive scheme.
“We’ve been playing that 3-2 match-up zone very well lately,” Overstake said. “We’re trying to stay away from the reaching part of it, moving our feet on defense. It’s been paying off. We’ve been very aggressive at attacking the basket and creating fouls, we just have to do a better job of making them.”
The victory earns the Lady Broncos another shot at McNicholas High School, a team that beat Western Brown 54-39 earlier this season. In that game, McNicholas jumped ahead thanks to a big second quarter in which they out-scored the Lady Broncos 20-7.
Overstake said preventing that would be the key this time around.
“We came out and didn’t have anything in the first quarter,” Overstake said. “We let them dominate like we did here. We can’t let that happen, because we played with them the rest of the ballgame. We have to come up with a bit of a different strategy out of the gate, but if we continue to do this, we don’t have to have much of a new gameplan.”