Buckeye Valley freshman Megan Veneman hit a clutch jumper and even bigger free throw to tie things up at 52 late in overtime, but Sha’Toya Johnson hit a contested three-pointer as time expired to lift host Brookhaven to a 55-52 Division II sectional semifinal win Monday in Columbus.
“It was a close game all the way through,” BV coach Landon Fraker said. “We’d pull ahead by four or five then they would come back and go up by four or five.”
The overtime was no different, as the biggest separation came courtesy of Johnson’s deep jumper.
“We had a good game plan and the girls executed,” Fraker said. “After Megan tied it up, they came back down and the girls did exactly what they needed to do, but Brookhaven got the ball to a girl who wasn’t on our scouting report — a girl who hadn’t done anything all game — and she hit a tough jumper with Amy Stought right in her face as time ran out.”
Brookhaven jumped out to a 16-13 lead by the end of the first quarter, but Buckeye Valley tied things up by the break thanks to an 11-8 second. The Bearcats took a three-point, 37-34 lead into the fourth, but the Barons again battled back, using a 13-10 fourth-quarter surge to send the game into the extra session — a period the hosts won 8-5.
The loss stung, but didn’t diminish Fraker’s admiration for his team.
“I’m so proud of them … how they competed tonight and every night this season,” he said. “There is no quit in them. They love each other, play for each other and want to win for each other.”
Four Barons scored in double figures, including Maddie Oberle (14), Cassie Ingram (13), Michaela Linn (10) and Amy Stought (10). Linn and Ingram also rebounded well, collecting 23 and 17, respectively, to finish their high school careers with double-doubles.
Fraker said BV will certainly miss the duo, along with seniors Rebecca Penrod and Mel Anderson — a group which has meant so much to the program.
“They are just a great group of kids,” the coach said f his seniors. “I attribute a lot of the success we’ve had to them. This is the first group I’ve had since I came back and we kind of started righting the ship.”
The Barons finished the year with an overall record of 10-11.