WESTERVILLE — In a game of runs, Gilead Christian had the final answer Tuesday in the Division IV girls district basketball tournament.
The Eagles outscored Danville, 7-1, in the final three minutes of the game to pull out a 51-46 victory and advance to the district finals on Friday.
“This is not the way we wanted to go out,” said Danville coach Scott Ewing. “This hurts. We’ll remember this this summer.”
The first 12 minutes of the game went back and forth with neither team taking more than a four-point lead. But, trailing by one at that point, Gilead Christian (20-2) went inside and took control. Five-foot-10 junior Kendra Votaw took over, scoring 10 straight points to put the Eagles in command heading into the locker room.
“We did not box out real well and we let Votaw get some points in there,” Ewing said. “It came down to rebounding and we were not very good (Danville was outrebounded 36-28).”
Danville (15-7) was able to muster just two baskets in the second quarter, including one in the final seven minutes as GC took a 10-point lead at halftime, 27-17.
The Blue Devils went to its one-two punch of senior Tracy Payne and junior Aubrey Hazen to make a run of its own in the third quarter. Those two combined for 17 points in the quarter, including 11 in a row as the Devils pulled back within one point.
“We were able to run our zone offense and get some good looks (in the third quarter),” Ewing said.
A 3-pointer from Payne early in the fourth quarter gave Danville its first lead since midway through the second. But, a couple of offensive putbacks by the Eagles and some clutch free throws down the stretch helped GC pick up the victory.
“We were not patient (tonight). We tried to force it inside, but mishandled the ball and got out of sync,” Ewing said. “We’ve got to have all five on the same page. There were times tonight when we did not have everybody on the same page. This is a rough way to go out.”
Payne led Danville with 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Hazen added 10 points and six rebounds, while Hannah Matheny had six points and five rebounds and Kaleigh Conner had three points and dished out seven assists. Emily Mickley and Katelyn Walls both had two points.
“Kaleigh is really starting to come around. She’s our future point guard, we’ve just got to get her to look to score more,” Ewing said. “I thought Hannah (Matheny) played well and (Katelyn) Walls played well off the bench.”
Votaw led the Eagles with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Kelly Mast added 13 points and Brenna Kurilec had eight points.