SPARTA — The Highland Scots controlled the boards and the ball in the first half, cruising to a 45-25, win over the visiting Centennial Stars in the first round of OHSAA girls Division II sectional tournament play, on Tuesday.
The Scots, who got out to as much as a 20-7 lead in the opening half, converted on four of their nine steals before the half. The Scots had a game total of 12 steals. Raven Tilford led the Scots with four steals, equaling the game total for Centennial’s entire team.
Tilford grabbed five of her eight rebounds in the first half. Teammate Savannah Fitzpatrick had all five of her rebounds in the second half. Highland had a total of 15 of their 28 rebounds before halftime, but were edged in that category, 28-27 in the game.
It was typical, unselfish, Scots’ basketball. Brooklyn Baird and Madison Cecil, each threw in eight points for the Scots. Cecil scored five in the first half and Baird dropped in five in the second half. Tilford and Brooklyn Geiger added six points apiece for Highland. The Scots also got five points apiece from Fitzpatrick, Brylinn Tuggle and Madison Gordon.
“That has typically been our whole season,” said Highland coach Whitney Levering-Smith. “In our season stats, there is not one truly dominant player who is averaging 16 points a game. Anybody is capable of scoring layups and finishing.”
The Stars had to figure out who to stop, but they also compounded their troubles with 26 turnovers to the Scots’ 14.
“We were very flexible with our scoring tonight,” Baird said. “Everyone was hitting their shots, tonight. It wasn’t really a self-centered game. We played as a team.”
Geiger had the additional assignment of sticking to Centennial junior forward Naa Dromo Korley, who was held to seven points and five rebounds. The only other Centennial player to score significantly was Shamara Bridges, who finished with a dozen points.
“(Geiger) was guarding a player, who was technically a post player and is bigger than her,” said Levering-Smith said. “She did a great job of making sure (Korley) didn’t get too hot and have easy layups to the basket all the time.”
Highland will travel to No. 2 seeded Granville on Friday for a 7 p.m. sectional final matchup.
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