YELLOW SPRINGS — There’s an old saying in sports: “You can’t teach quickness.”
A coach can teach his players how to dribble, how to shoot, but quickness comes from the players. Nowhere was this demonstrated more fully than Thursday night’s girls’ basketball game between Yellow Springs and Troy Christian. The Bulldogs were neck and neck with the Eagles throughout most of their Senior Night match. However, with a late foul call, the Bulldogs were able to edge out Troy Christian in the last 3 seconds with a score of 33-31.
The Bulldogs’ victory can be attributed in no small part to the hustle of sophomore Angie Smith, who scored a whopping 23 points out of Yellow Springs total of 33. Not only did Smith bring her considerable speed and skill with the ball to bear, she knew how to best position herself to break past the otherwise formidable Troy Christian defense.
The game started out slow for the Bulldogs, as they trailed the Eagles 4-7 at the end of the first period. During the second, with four minutes left in the half, senior Tyler Linkhart put the Bulldogs in the lead off of a pass from Smith. With seconds ticking down to halftime, the two teams were tied at 13 points until Smith dropped a buzzer-beater 3-point shot, putting the Bulldogs up 16-13 at the half.
During the third period, the Bulldogs began to reverse the fortunes of the first period, building a modest lead over the Eagles. However, a shooting foul and a technical foul on Yellow Springs gave Troy Christian an opportunity to close that gap, making all four free throws. At the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs still led 25-21.
As the clock ticked down the last few seconds of the game, a charging foul on Troy Christian cost them a two-point basket, and a foul against Smith on an inbound play gave the Bulldogs two free throws. The two teams were tied 31-31 as Smith scored the last two points of the game, earning the victory and shattering Troy Christian’s conference championship hopes.
“It’s a very intense game for us, we always play them close,” said Bulldogs coach Tim Minnich. “But that’s what’s fun. I’d like to play that kind of game every single day. We had Senior Night; we had Legacy [Christian] kids here, it’s a big crowd. But I just told my kids, do it for you. Have fun.”
With the loss, Legacy Christian can clinch its second consecutive Metro Buckeye Conference title with a 6 p.m. home win Friday, Feb. 7 against Middletown Christian.
As of Thursday, Angie Smith, currently a sophomore at Yellow Springs, is only two points away from a career 1,000 points scored. At this rate, she is well on her way to smashing the school record of 1,700 points.
The Lady Bulldogs face off next on the road against Miami Valley Schools at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8.
London Bishop is a freelance sportswriter for Greene County News.