Olentangy Orange coach Mary Ann Grimes did not want to reveal the words she used to dig into her team at halftime of a Division I regional semifinal because they aren't fit to print. Star guard Taylor Agler said nothing had to be said with the Pioneers trailing Gahanna by 10 points. They trailed by as many as 16 early in the third quarter.
Olentangy Orange coach Mary Ann Grimes did not want to reveal the words she used to dig into her team at halftime of a Division I regional semifinal because they aren’t fit to print.
Star guard Taylor Agler said nothing had to be said with the Pioneers trailing Gahanna by 10 points. They trailed by as many as 16 early in the third quarter.
“It clicked that our season was going to end,” Agler said. “We’ve been playing the game together since the fourth grade. We had never been to the regional. I don’t know if it was nerves or shock. Coach Grimes had to share some words.”
Orange leaned on seniors such as Agler, Mya Walker and Maddy Joseph to pull off a stunning 63-52 victory in overtime over the Lions last night in front of 1,782 in the Rike Center at Otterbein.
The Pioneers (25-2) will face the winner of tonight’s game between Reynoldsburg and North Canton Hoover for a spot in the state tournament. That semifinal was postponed because of Hoover’s reluctance to travel in foul weather.
Gahanna (22-5) led 35-19 on a basket by Chrishna Butler with 4:10 left in the third quarter. Orange scored eight straight points to cut the lead in half. Agler began the run with a three-pointer and Walker ended it with a layup. Overtime was needed when Butler, coming off a triple screen, took an inbounds pass from Quiera Lampkins and hit a three-pointer from the baseline as time expired to make it 48-48.
“That was something Lancaster used to do to us,” Lions coach Rick Hauser said. “I give our kids credit. They didn’t quit. I’m a little dumbfounded. … We had good shots. They just didn’t go down.”& amp; amp; lt; /p>
Agler gave Orange a 50-48 lead just 26 seconds into overtime with a driving layup. After Gahanna missed a shot, Walker hit a 15-foot jump shot for a four-point lead. The Lions were forced to foul to get the ball back, and the Pioneers made them pay when Agler made 4 of 6 free throws, Tori Davis and Joseph 2 of 2 and Walker 3 of 4.
Walker said Orange players were upset with themselves for committing 25 turnovers, but they weren’t intimidated.“We’ve played athletic teams, so there was no reason for use to be scared,” she said. “We realized that if we just ran our offense, they couldn’t stop us. It also was a matter of sitting down on defense. It was our heart. We had to find it.”
Grimes said she didn’t think her players were shaken by playing in front of a large crowd in a college arena.
“After they got so high and won the district tournament, they had to come back with the same energy,” she said. “They were flat. That was the challenge at halftime. We decided we wanted to play a little.”
Agler led Orange with 20 points. Walker had 19 points and six rebounds and Joseph 11 points, six rebounds and four steals. Lampkins paced Gahanna with 15 points.