BELLBROOK — Led by 6-2 center Gabby Ozoude, unbeaten and fourth-ranked Bellbrook overpowered Wilmington 62-39 Monday night in a non-league game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Ozoude put on a dazzling show as she towered over the other nine players on the floor, finishing with 27 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots. She was 13 for 17 from the field.
“She’s a force,” WHS head coach Mark Short said of Ozoude.
Wilmington was led by Mya Jackson who had 12 points and Katlyn Jamiel, who had 11 points. Sarah Quallen came off the bench to lead WHS with seven rebounds. Jackson also had seven boards. Faith Sanderson, who was in foul trouble much of the night, led with three assists.
Cassidy Hofacker scored 10 for Bellbrook while Stephanie Dorn tossed in nine.
“You have to be at your best to have a chance (against Bellbrook),” said Short. “And that was the worst we’ve played in five or six games. They had a lot to do with it.”
The battle against Bellbrook is just another in a run of games against top-flight, state-ranked type teams. Wilmington is coming off a close loss late last week to state-ranked Miami Trace and Clinton-Massie, who was state-ranked in the first girls poll, later this week.
“I’ve seen Bellbrook three or four times this year and they’ve yet to play man defense,” Short said. “They chase you and trap you and with their length make it hard on you. And then they have (Ozoude) to protect the middle.”
Bellbrook was clicking on all cylinders early, racing out to a 17-1 lead before WHS finally connected on a field goal with 1:26 to play in the first quarter.
“This is one of our better all-around games,” said BHS coach Jason Tincher, an All-America wide receiver at Wilmington College in 1994. “I thought all facets of our game were great. We seemed to be on point.”
The Lady Hurricane battled, though, cutting the difference to 21-11 midway through the second quarter.
But the Golden Eagles closed the half with a flourish, scoring the final 13 points to secure a 34-11 advantage at the break.
“We try to hang our hat on defense,” said Tincher. “We want to try to make it as hard as possible for people to score. They are fun to watch right now. They are learning to play together.”
The difference grew to 30 at one point, 45-15, as Wilmington could never find the range offensively, connecting on just 12 of 41 from the field. Bellbrook, on the other hand, was 27 for 60, but 15 for 28 in the first half.
“Like I just told them, 16-0 is pretty cool, but let’s get back to work tomorrow,” said Tincher. “Let’s play loose and focus on energy and enthusiasm. It doesn’t take any talent to bust your butt and work hard.”