OREGON – A year ago, the Ross girls basketball team had its most forgettable night of the 2017-18 season when it visited Oregon Clay. Though playing a less-talented opponent, the Lady Giants never found a groove and suffered an ugly upset.
Thursday night, the Lady Giants returned to Clay and the first half shared an eerie similarity with its predecessor, as the Lady Giants were cold in their field goal shooting and found themselves trailing by a basket at halftime – the same deficit it faced a year ago.
But that’s where the déjà vu ended.
The Lady Giants came out of halftime a different team. They used a 12-0 run in the third quarter to take the lead and then a 9-0 fourth-quarter run to pull away for good in a 49-35 daemon-exorcising victory.
“In the offseason, and even this season, we talked about the game at Clay last year where nothing went right, and it was just bad,” coach Juan Vela said. “…It’s always nice for the girls to understand one year from another and have goals and try to achieve those things.”
Through the first half, Vela said, the Lady Giants were trying to emphasize the post, to slow the game down and pound the ball inside the paint, but the Lady Giants never generated sustained offense and went into halftime trailing, 19-17.
At halftime, Ross reversed course, shifting to a perimeter-based attack, using four guards and pushing the pace.
Clay scored the first bucket of the third quarter to grow its lead to four when the Lady Giants found their rhythm. Brooklyn Baptista scored her first basket of the night after being shut out in the first half. Mikeaya McLaurin came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer, giving Ross the lead it never relinquished. Rachel Gore drove the lane for a basket, followed by a 3-pointer by Baptista. Olivia Baptista hit a pair of free throws to complete the 12-0 run over a five-and-a-half minute span to open a 29-21 lead.
“I think our momentum (was the difference),” Olivia Baptista said. “We were slow to come out and once we started getting stops then buckets, we started adding on to it and our momentum kept adding up. And the defense got so much better.”
Clay got into the double bonus early in the fourth quarter and made enough free throws to stay close, Ross led by five with 4:20 to play when Vela called timeout.
During the timeout he told his team to refrain from rushing shots and play disciplined down the stretch. The Lady Giants listened and then put the game away. Out of the timeout, Marissa Overmyer gave a terrific pass to Brooklyn Baptista under the basket. A steal by Olivia Baptista led to a 3-pointer by Gore then Baptista found Overmyer down-low for another bucket. Less than a minute later, Jasannah Sabiers scored on a put-back of an offensive rebound, giving Ross a 9-0 run from the timeout and a 47-33 lead with less than two minutes remaining.
“The big thing, so far this year, is our patience on offense,” Vela said. “The girls want to shoot very quickly, they just want to go. Sometimes there’s moments in a game where you got to be patient. When I called that timeout, we were up five and we were patient. … After that timeout we had a run because we were patient and we took what the defense gave us.”
Gore led the Lady Giants with 13 points, Olivia Baptista scored 11 while seven rebounds and six steals and Brooklyn Baptista added 10.
“I think we all really wanted this one,” Olivia Baptista said. “I don’t know what it was but coming out in the second half we all came together even closer and fought that much harder. Clay was really aggressive, and we fought back.”
The Lady Giants 5-2 overall, 3-2 in the TRAC. Ross is off until Dec. 27 when it travels to Port Clinton.
Fremont Ross 49, Oregon Clay 35
FR| 11–6—14—18 49
OC| 8—11—6—10 35
FREMONT ROSS (49)
Brooklyn Baptista 10, Olivia Baptista 11, Rachel Gore 13, Jasannah Sabiers 6, Marisaa Overmyer 4, Molly Mies 2, Mikeaya McLaurin 3.
OREGON CLAY (35)
Faith Johnson 8, Kennedy Slovak 14, Tiffany Stevens 3, Olivia Henneman-Dallape 6, Alivia Rew 2, Anna Rew 2.
Oregon Clay 45, Fremont Ross 31
FR| 6—6—14—5 31
OC| 10—12—17—6 45
FREMONT ROSS (31)
Mekhia Williams 3, Rebecca Holland 1, Aries Freeman 7, Hannah Sheidler 4, Makenna Englund 14, Alana Smith 2.
OREGON CLAY (45)
Brown 2, Cannon 2, Payeff 2, Przybylski 20, Mahler 2, Tabler 6, Kelley 2, Takacs 9.
Oregon Clay 35, Fremont Ross 16
FR| 3—2—3—7 16
OC| 11—8—7—9 35
FREMONT ROSS (16)
Aleah Whaley 11, Faith Beaver 2, Jeriea Walton 2, Alexis Huff 1.
OREGON CLAY (45)
Carr 2, Coughlin 4, Brady 9, Kirian 15, Madrid 4, Cannon 1