CEDARVILLE — Starting her chase for 2,000 career points in her senior season, Angie Smith got her team in the win column out of the gate this season with a defensive play.
Yellow Springs came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to win at Cedarville 48-43 on Monday. Smith was a big part of the win by hitting eight straight free throws in the final 48 seconds.
But it was when Yellow Springs led by three in the final 15 seconds that saw Smith run the length of the floor after a make at the line and block a wide-open three-point attempt that may have been the biggest difference in the game.
“That was huge. Last year, she would’ve jogged down the court and they probably would have made that three,” Yellow Springs head coach Nick Minnich said. “This year as a senior she’s learned to make that play when there’s no one else behind you you have to step up. With three new players on the court at the end of the game, she knows that she needs to be that person to step up.”
Smith finished with 32 points, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter. Corinne Totty may have made the biggest shot for the Bulldogs though to give her team its first lead at 32-31 early in the fourth on a three-point shot from the corner.
Cedarville (0-1) would tie the game at 37, but Smith made a bucket plus a foul with 1:22 remaining and closed out the game from there.
“We learned how to finish,” Minnich said. “Trailed going into the fourth quarter and they had a lot of fans here and it was loud and our girls were a bit nervous out there, you could tell. They rose to the occasion though and I’m so proud of how well they handled the situation.”
Cedarville jumped out of the gate and led 12-4 after the first quarter, led by 10 from Molly Mossing who scored 19 in the game. The Indians remained up 27–17 at halftime.
As the second half moved on, Cedarville was unable to take advantage of several open looks as the well dried on their basket.
Yellow Springs (1-0) briefly tied the game at 29 late in the third and trailed by two heading into the fourth.
“Before the game, I was talking to the girls because we had a really low energy level through warm-ups and they came out and hit us in the mouth,” Minnich said. “You know after the first quarter we were down eight and then 10 at halftime. I just told them that shots were going to fall, but I’m not worried about offense and I’m more worried about defense at that point. They did a great job making their adjustments.”
Totty finished with eight points and Aaliyah Longshaw had six for Yellow Springs.
Kailee Sutton scored nine for Cedarville, with Ciara Horney adding five points.
Smith needs to average just over 30 points per game this season to reach the milestone and she’s off to a good start. Minnich said she’s learning how to be the leader of this year’s team and is setting a bar to reach for along with Longshaw.
Yellow Springs has five new players on this year’s eight-woman roster, all of whom got an early lesson in working hard from their senior leader in game one.
“We are a new team. We have three girls back from last year but the whole bench is new,” Minnich said. “They haven’t learned how to win yet. Moving on, we just need to continue to learn how to win. The two seniors and our junior showed that ability tonight and that was huge for us.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.