Warriors’ balance too much for Xenia girls

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@civitasmedia.com

January 30, 2014

XENIA — The host Xenia Buccaneers girls basketball team was able to hang with Greater Western Ohio Conference, South Division contenders Lebanon for the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game at Xenia High.

But the Warriors exploded for 30 points in the second quarter to pull away for an 87-54 win.

“The one thing we know we have is a very competitive team that has a lot of balance and depth,” said Lebanon coach Rob Hodges. “When they had to go to their bench, and we had to go to ours … we have the confidence in knowing that our girls (from the bench) are going to compete.

“A 30-point quarter is big any time, and we haven’t seen that in quite a while. We just played hard, we executed our game plan, and we played pretty solid defense — aside from the fouls. Our depth is something that we have a lot of pride in, and I think having that depth is something that we enjoy.”

Lebanon (13-4 overall, 6-1 in the GWOC South) held a 15-12 lead after that first quarter of play. Gracen Howard scored nearly half of those points for the Warriors, and why not? Howard entered the game as the team’s leading scorer with a 13.3 points per game average.

But it was Sam Showalter who got the hot hand for Lebanon the rest of the way. The Lebanon senior guard canned four 3-pointers as part of a game-high 18-point scoring effort. Joining Showalter in double-figure scoring were Howard with 14 and Kaitlyn Bergman who finished with 11 points.

A dozen Lebanon players saw action in Wednesday’s game. All 12 scored.

“Lebanon is well-coached. They have kids on their team who know their roles and play exceptionally well. Kaitlyn Bergman was a bear on the offensive glass tonight for them, and she killed us with offensive putbacks. We just got out played tonight,” said Xenia coach Terry Toliver. “Out played. Out hustled. Out coached.”

At least one bright spot for the Buccaneers (4-12, 2-5 GWOC South) came in the form of freshman Infiniti Carr, who saw limited duty and still led the team with 13 points. Carr used some of her game day eligibility playing in the junior varsity game, so her points came in two quarters of varsity work.

“She has that toughness, that dog mentality that we’re looking for. It doesn’t matter who she’s playing, she plays against them hard. That’s what we need from everyone,” Toliver said. Xenia teammates Tamerah Jabbar and Makenna Taylor also finished in double-figure scoring with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Toliver said his team needs to forget about the loss and regroup in time for Saturday’s home game with West Carrollton. The JVs tip off at 11:30 a.m., followed by the varsity contest which has scheduled a 1 p.m. start.

Xenia will then play a make-up game on the road against Kenton Ridge on Monday.