UTICA — Defensive muscle in the second half and 20 points from post player Tamara Londot helped lift the Utica Redskins to a 60-39 win over the Licking Valley Panthers in nonconference girls basketball action on Tuesday.
After getting off to a 15-7 lead against their Licking County rivals, the Redskins saw it slipping away in the second quarter. The Panthers were outrebounding the Redskins on defense and chipping away on offense.
“We weren’t crashing the defensive boards,” said Utica coach Michelle Snow. “With every shot that went up, (Licking Valley was) right there in position to get it. They were very aggressive on the boards.”
Licking Valley’s Morgan Overbay (two steals, two rebounds, 4-of-8 field goals) hit a turnaround jumper in the paint to cut Utica’s lead to a single bucket, 18-16, with 2:30 left before halftime.
“We called a timeout and talked about it,” said Snow. “We made a few adjustments, but I don’t believe we have it completely fixed. We’ll work on it more tomorrow in practice.”
That was all the wake up call the Redskins needed.
“When it gets close, or when we’re behind, we fight harder,” said Londot. “It was just like our game against Heath on Saturday. We were down by 13 points at one time and we never gave up. We crashed the boards, got after the ball and put our shots in.”
After being outrebounded in the first half, the Redskins attacked the defensive boards in the second half to total 23 defensive rebounds for the game.
“Our goal is to box out underneath, crash the boards and get the rebound,” said Londot. “That’s what we did.”
All that rebounding launched a third quarter scoring spree by the Redskins. Londot’s shooting was superb as she went 8-for-10 from the floor, but her aim was a bit off in practice before the game.
“In the pregame, I wasn’t hitting much,” said Londot. “I was kind of nervous, actually, going into the game. I just went out and gave it my best effort.”
Also for Utica, Bridgette Davis (6-for-9 fg, four rebounds) added 17 points and Abbie Corbett (seven points) had 11 of her team’s 14 assists along with seven rebounds and five steals.
“It’s nice to see (Londot and Davis) scoring but they can’t do that unless there’s someone feeding them the ball,” said Snow. “They did a good job but tonight, but it was a complete team effort.”
“Just like Tamara, I wasn’t feeling right before the game and then, I don’t know. I just got comfortable,” said Davis.
The Redskins, who outscored the Panthers 20-9 in the third quarter, broke the game wide open, 48-29, by the start of the fourth. Taylor Dush hit a pair of late free throws to give the Redskins their biggest lead, 60-36 with less than a minute left in the game.
“That’s the way we play,” said Davis. “We play hard until the whistle blows — the whole game.”
It was a team effort on the defensive side of the ball for the Redskins, who outrebounded the Panthers, 32-30. Even 5-foot-3 freshman guard Kelley Overton came up with several key rebounds for Utica.
“I told (Overton), ‘You’re responsible for getting five rebounds before I take you out,’” said Snow. “She went out there and she was a rebounding machine, so I guess that worked.”
Myranda Wolfe added six points for the Redskins, while teammate Jordan Morrow had five.
Utica also won the jayvee game played earlier, defeating Licking Valley, 33-27. Erika White had nine points for Utica. Licking Valley was led by Marlee Tannehill and Cheyenne Cramer, who each had six.