BY ALEX KNISELY
Times-Reporter sports writer
GNADENHUTTEN “The game is still on. We’re not going to quit.”
That’s what Indian Valley High head girls basketball coach Randy Emler told his Braves at halftime Saturday afternoon during a Principals Athletic Conference matchup.
And the girls did just that.
Although the win went in favor of the visiting Triway Titans by a score of 67-59, Indian Valley zealously charged back with vengeance in the final frame to erase more than half of a 20-point deficit.
But as the clock ticked down, the Braves found themselves with their first conference loss of the season, now at 5-1 (7-2 overall).
Triway advanced to 4-2 in the conference and 6-3 on the season.
Meanwhile, Indian Valley’s Emily Baker set a school record with a 37-point scoring performance. She topped the previous mark of 30 set by Danielle Smith in 2001.
“This is one thing about these kids: They’re very resilient,” Emler said. “They don’t quit; they don’t give up. That’s one thing we preach all the time to them, and they buy in to that.”
Indian Valley had to overcome Triway’s strong guard play to mount the comeback bid.
Mariah Cruise scored 12 of the Titans’ 19 points in the third frame as Indian Valley only put up eight.
“We kind of fell apart a little bit in the third quarter and had a hard time stopping schemes, and we weren’t going up real good and recognizing where those stronger players were,” Emler said of his team’s performance. “We need to really recognize those situations a little bit better.”
But it all changed during the final eight minutes.
Baker was quick to react and made five consecutive buckets, including three 3-pointers, to score 16 points to help the Braves to outscore the Titans
21-10 in the fourth quarter.
She sank seven 3-pointers and made eight shots from inside the arc.
Emler commented on the teamwork of Triway and how Indian Valley reacted to its offense, saying, “We don’t match up with big people like that, so we got to play with a lot more finesse and bring the heat when we can. Kind of showed that in the fourth quarter. We brought all our quickness in and made a nice run.”
But the powerhouse of Triway ran too fast for Indian Valley to catch up, although the Braves went on an 18-6 run.
Only four Triway players scored, each entering double digits. Cruise, who scored four straight times in the beginning of the third quarter, led the squad with 21 points. Micah Findley and Sarah Herald each were 5-of-6 from the free thrown line.
The opening quarter of action started off nicely for the Braves as the buzzer sounded with a 16-15 lead in favor of Indian Valley. The next frame is where Triway began to pull away from Indian Valley a 38-30 lead at the half.
That is when Emler told his team they’re going to need to fight back.
The Braves listened.
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