WEST CARROLLTON — Pulling off a Jekyll and Hyde performance that would make any coach proud, the Xenia High School girls basketball team rallied from a 12-point deficit to win on the road, 59-54, Wednesday night over West Carrollton.
The once wide-eyed Buccaneers of the first half came out to dominate the second. After trailing 34-22 at the break, Xenia reeled off a 14-0 run over the first 5 minutes of the second half to take the lead for good.
“We weren’t really playing as we could in the first half,” explained Taylor. “That was probably the worse half we’d played this season. But we went into the locker room and talked about how we had to really step it up and play defense. Our intensity was down, so we needed to bring that as well.”
And they did.
Once Bucs coach Terry Toliver convinced Taylor that she could drive against anybody, his sophomore point guard showed some confidence on the court. Taylor scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half, and tied senior teammate Unique Conner for the team’s high scoring honors. Autumn Meyer drained three treys to finish with nine points and Africa Strodes tossed in eight (six in the second half).
“It feels good to rally like that. We brought our best in the second half to get this win, and we really needed it,” Taylor added. The win snaps a month-long losing streak. Xenia (3-8, 1-2 GWOC South) hadn’t won a game since a 57-55 win over Clayton Northmont on Dec. 4 of last year.
West Carrollton (1-10 overall, 0-3 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s South Division) pulled within 55-51 on Jordan Cochrane’s 3-pointer from the left corner, but Strodes hit a pair of free throws, and then an inside jumper from the right side, to open the lead back up to eight points. Cochrane hit another three from the left side just before time expired.
“Our biggest thing was, we just had the girls settle down and let the game come to them,” Toliver explained. “We knew that West Carrollton had given us their best punch in the first half. We told the girls that it could’ve been worse. We could’ve been down by 20-30 points, but it was only 12.
“We just came out with the idea that we couldn’t win the game in one possession, but that we could win it one possession at a time.”
In a valiant effort, West Carrollton had four players finish in double-figure scoring. Madison Patton led all scorers with a 17-point effort, but was limited to four points in the second half. Kendra Layne scored 13 points, Cochrane finished with 11 and Emily Glenn added 10.
Xenia also claimed a win in the junior varsity contest. The Buccaneers won that one, 65-24.
BELLBROOK 42, MIDDLETOWN MADISON 30: Bellbrook pushed its record to 7-3 with Wednesday’s non-league win over Madison. Senior captains Chea Taylor and Emily Smith led the way. Taylor had 21 points and nine rebounds while Smith finished with 11 points. Bellbrook will host Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division leading Eaton on Saturday.