Shooting woes ground Oran girls basketball in semifinal loss to Adrian
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- With two starters on the bench, the Oran girls basketball team appeared to be pulling away late in the first half. The Eagles opened up a 14-point lead with less than four minutes remaining in the first half of their first-ever MSHSAA Class 2 semifinal, and coach Ethan Evans saw an opportunity to build up an insurmountable lead.
However, minutes later when the halftime buzzer sounded, Oran's lead was down to three points.
Adrian weathered that second-quarter surge and outlasted the the youthful Eagles in a 54-46 win Thursday at the Hearnes Center.
Oran, which has one senior and shot 26.5 percent from the field, will play Scotland County in the third-place game at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Mizzou Arena.
"I thought in the second quarter we were really running the floor and getting them tired, and I thought we had a chance to really kind of blow it open," Evans said. "Then it just went the other way. They start four seniors, and you can tell they were able to keep their composure. And when we thought we were going to blow it open, they came back."
Oran (27-4) had 23 offensive rebounds, but struggled to turn those second-chance opportunities into points. The Eagles were 18 of 68 from the field.
"They had 23 offensive rebounds. You don't win many games giving up 23 offensive rebounds," Adrian coach Shaun Bruto said.
Adrian (30-1) will face Skyline in the final at 8:10 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The Blackhawks shot 19 of 51 from the field (37.3 percent) and were 14 of 21 from the free-throw line. Oran was 7 of 10.
Sophomore Leah Cauble led Oran with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-21 shooting from the field. No other Eagle had more than seven points, while the rest of the team shot 8 of 47 from the floor (17.1 percent).
"We didn't make easy shots under the goal," Cauble said, "and I thought our defensive pressure could have been better."
Eagles sophomore Jessie Long grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
Adrian was led by guard Lauren Shipley and center Anna Walley, who each had a double-double. The 5-foot-7 Shipley poured in 18 points and grabbed 11 boards. Walley, who was the tallest player on the court at 6-foot, had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
It was Adrian's defense that was the difference, though, as Oran struggled to generate points in the half court.
"They play good man-to-man defense," Evans said. "They like to get out and really overplay you, and at times, I thought we did a good job of getting some good open looks and getting out in transition and just missed them, missed a lot of those open looks. A lot of that is pressure defense wearing on you and the big stage and everything.
"But we just missed some easy buckets."
Oran began the game on a 7-1 run, as Adrian struggled against the Eagles' full-court pressure. After the Eagles' strong start, Adrian countered with an 8-2 run to end the first quarter. The teams entered the second period tied at 9-all.
Then the Eagles went on a 14-0 surge with starters Brianna Stause and Kaylee Payne sitting on the bench with two fouls. Evans saw that as an opportunity to put the game out of reach, as the Eagles led 23-9 with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in the second quarter. But Adrian countered with its own 11-0 spurt to close the half.
Payne scored the first points of the second half, but the Blackhawks outscored Oran by six in the third quarter and took a 39-36 advantage into the final period.
The closest Oran got in the final quarter was three, and as the seconds ticked down and the Eagles began to foul, Adrian hits its free throws to seal the victory.
"We went into halftime, and we kind of got our nerves out of our system," Walley said. "We came back out and really I think took control of our defense and our offense and really executed in everything that we could."
Oran's a young squad and had never advanced past a sectional before this year, so Evans said the bright lights and big platform might have affected his squad and its shot-making ability.
With Oran losing just one player to graduation in Stause, this weekend at state could help season Evans' squad.
"It's sad, but it's a learning experience," Cauble said. "We just need to get better."
ADRIAN (54) -- Bailey Reed 12, Lauren Shipley 18, Jenna Shipley 9, Anna Walley 15. FG 19, FT 14-21, F 12. (3-pointers: Reed, L. Shipley. Fouled out: None.)
ORAN (46) -- Brianna Stause 3, Kaylee Payne 7, Leah Cauble 24, Jessie Long 7, Mackenzie Graviett 2, Katelyn Streeter 3. FG 18, FT 7-10, F 18. (3-pointers: Stause, Long, Streeter. Fouled out: Stause.)