By John Bombatch
WEST CARROLLTON — The Xenia Buccaneers girls basketball team showed the resilience of a team that was finally starting to have some confidence in itself, in Wednesday’s 46-35 win over West Carrollton.
The Bucs jumped out to a double-digit lead, lost it, then showed enough composure to calmly outscore the host Pirates in the closing five minutes of the game.
“Realistically, that’s a team on paper that our kids thought they should beat, and realistically we should. We’re more skilled than them,” said Xenia coach Kyle Gray. “But West Carrollton made a nice little run in the third quarter, they made some threes that I did not think they would make. We always seemed to have one person in the wrong spot, and they would take advantage of that. They outplayed us in every aspect of that third quarter and it showed.”
The Pirates outscored Xenia 13-8 in the third quarter to pull within three points of the Bucs, 30-27, after three quarters of play.
Then, Jade Coleman hit a pair of free throws for West Carrollton with 5:35 left to play to tie the game up at 32-all.
Xenia responded with a Aliyah Garnett free throw on its next possession. After a West Carrollton turnover, Tarah Crawford scored from the left side to put the Bucs out in front 35-32.
Then, Cora Stevens drove in for a score, was fouled, and converted the free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play and a 38-32 Xenia lead. The Bucs never trailed again.
Xenia has now won four of its last seven basketball games. Wednesday’s win marked the first time this season that the team had won two games in a row. They beat Fairborn on Monday, 36-24.
“We were 1-11 at one point this season, and now we’re on a little roll here,” Gray said. “We’re starting to learn basketball.”
Trinity Morton led Xenia (5-14, 3-4 Greater Western Ohio Conference, South Division) with a game-high 24 points, and Jada Wallace dumped in 11 points, in Wednesday’s win.
Kyisa Champaco, Jade Coleman and Gracie Johnson each scored six points to lead West Carrollton. The Pirates are now 0-14, 0-6 GWOC South.
Prior to the game, West Carrollton recognized the seniors for both teams. Each Xenia senior was presented a rose and a small gift.
Xenia plays its next game on Saturday in a 1 p.m. game against Springboro.