After suffering a rare loss the previous evening to the Northwestern Tigers, the Oak Hill Golden Eagles were looking to reestablish their dominance on the court as well as get back into the win column on Thursday night.
They accomplished both tasks, as the Golden Eagles got out to a big lead and cruised the rest of the way in a 57-28 victory over the Eastbrook Panthers.
Oak Hill ran a full court press for more of the first quarter, taking Eastbrook out of their comfort zone early and forcing a plethora of turnovers on their way to a 13-4 lead.
Taylor Westgate was involved early, scoring six points in the opening quarter and bullying Eastbrook defenders in the post.
It wasn’t much easier for the Panthers in the second quarter, as Oak Hill’s defense continued to force turnovers and make it difficult for Eastbrook to get anything going offensively.
After one half of play, the Panthers had more turnovers (13) than points (11).
“I was very pleased with how we came out,” Oak Hill head coach Todd Law said after the game. “I was concerned that we might have a little bit of a lapse after last night’s game [against Northwestern], but the one challenge I gave them before we hit the floor was, when you get beat and you get to play the very next night, you should still be a little bit ticked off and ready to go get something changed. I thought they came out with that attitude. We did a great job in our press, and even in our half-court, we were able to get out and get some transition points.”
Already leading by 15 points at halftime, the Golden Eagles opened the third quarter with a 16-4 run to take a commanding 42-17 lead they would not relinquish. Eastbrook couldn’t get any shots to fall, finishing the game with just seven made field goals on 27 attempts, while Oak Hill shot 48 percent from the field.
“We knew we were going to be up against it,” Eastbrook head coach Jeff Liddick said. “Coach Law’s team – they are very talented. That’s a hard team to beat. We are trying to compete against girls that are 6-1, 6-0, 5-11, and then the skill level they have with their guards, it was a tough thing for us to try to compete with tonight.”
Jenessa Hasty led the Golden Eagles in scoring with 16 points and was the best all-around player on the floor for both teams. Along with her contributions offensively, she played great defense all night and came away with four steals.
“There are very few games where Jenessa is not a major factor in most areas,” Law said. “She is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever had, and just gives you everything she can. She’s shooting the ball really well from the three-point line, and tonight, I was glad to see her actually take the ball to the basket a few times. She had a really nice game for us.”
Westgate finished the evening with 15 points and 11 of the Golden Eagles 31 total rebounds, bouncing back nicely from a tough outing against the Tigers in which she scored only four points.
“She had a nice game,” Law said. “I know she was very frustrated last night. She was frustrated with her foul trouble and in the way she played. I don’t worry about Taylor. She is a kid who is going to respond. She is very level-headed and even keeled, she doesn’t get to high or low, and she always stays positive with herself. I was pleased with her play tonight.”
For the Panthers, the same issues continue to hold them back. Their defensive effort was gritty, as it has been in every game this season, but fatigue, together with collapses defensively at key moments, caught up with them once again in their fourth straight loss.
“I’m never disappointed in our effort on the defensive end,” Liddick said. “It’s always scrappy and they always get after it, but because of our depth or lack thereof, we run out of gas. With only two subs, it’s hard to keep fresh. We are very good in stretches, but we have breakdowns where teams make runs on us. We’ve got to fix some things skill-level wise in order for us to be successful.”
Oak Hill improved to 16-2 on the season, while the Panthers dropped to 5-12.