Oran girls basketball cruises into district final with win over Bismarck
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- In the preseason, the Oran girls basketball team installed a new, aggressive defensive press. The idea was that if the Eagles were to take the next step and contend for a postseason run, they needed to be more effective on defense.
On Monday it worked, as top-seeded Oran harassed fourth-seeded Bismarck into 25 turnovers, including 11 in the first quarter, and made sure the result was never in doubt in an 88-41 victory in the semifinals of the Class 2 District 2 tournament at Perry Park Center in Perryville, Missouri.
"We watched them play on Saturday and thought that if we could speed them up and put a lot of pressure on them that it would be to our benefit," Oran coach Ethan Evans said. "I thought it was the best our press has looked in a while."
The Eagles will face second-seeded Chaffee in the district title game at 6 p.m. Thursday.
"(I) just tell our girls to stick to our game plan and what we do the best and just trust in themselves and their teammates, and they'll be fine going down the stretch," Evans said.
The victory was the 24th of the year for Oran, setting a new school record for single-season wins.
Leah Cauble finished with 32 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals while on the floor for less than three quarters for the Eagles.
Kaylee Payne added 17 points, seven steals and two blocks for Oran (24-3), while Brianna Stause and Jessie Long each added eight points. Long also contributed eight rebounds and five steals.
The Eagles finished with 21 steals in the game.
"We talked before the game it's win or go home time, and there's no easy games from here on out. And in the playoffs, defense is what wins," Evans said. "So it was really nice to see us step up and play the way we did."
Oran was 36 of 74 from the floor (48.6 percent) in the game.
Bismarck (10-13) shot 17 of 46 (37 percent).
Alyssa Sago paced the Indians with 13 points and six rebounds. Brilee Henson added 11 points, and Brooke Fitzwater finished with a team-high eight boards.
Oran blitzed the Indians out of the gate, harassing the No. 4 seed with a defensive press that forced 11 first-quarter turnovers and left Bismarck in the dust.
The Eagles jumped out to a 12-0 lead before Madison Dugal finally put Bismarck on the scoreboard, but Cauble answered with a 3-pointer and Oran just kept cruising.
Cauble closed out the quarter by ripping the ball out of a Bismarck player's hands on the press, getting to the rim, taking a foul and easily finishing for a three-point play and a 27-9 lead after 8 minutes.
The Eagles pushed the advantage in the second quarter, which closed when Claire Ramsey found her sister, Madison, for a 3-pointer just before time expired, and Oran carried a 51-18 lead into halftime.
The Indians came out of the break with some energy, and Henson got back-to-back buckets inside the first minute. But Oran responded with a 13-0 run and made a lopsided game all but final.
Oran outscored Bismarck 30-12 to take a 51-point advantage into the final quarter, 81-30.
With the bench emptied for the Eagles for the final 8 minutes, the final buzzer sounded on a decisive victory for the top seed.
BISMARCK (41) -- Savannah Tate 7, Macy Butery 1, Brilee Henson 11, Alyssa Sago 13, Brooke Fitzwater 2, Emily Snyder 2, Madison Dugal 3, Josie Campbell 2. FG 17, FT 4-7, F15. (3-pointers: Tate, Henson, Sago. Fouled out: None.)
ORAN (88) -- Brianna Stause 8, Kaylee Payne 17, Leah Cauble 32, Jessie Long 8, Claire Ramsey 4, Mackenzie Graviett 6, Katelyn Streeter 5, Madison Ramsey 3, Savannah Below 5. FG 36, FT 9-16, F 10. (3-pointers: Stause 2, Payne, Cauble, Streeter, M. Rasmey, Below. Fouled out: None.)
- Photos from the game (02/20/17)