While the Oliver Ames girls’ basketball team is still searching for an offensive identity in the early part of the 2011-12 season, they have made up for it with excellent defense.
Tuesday’s 56-19 victory over Bridgewater-Raynham in the first round of the Sue Rivard Invitational was just another example of how their 3-0 season has gone so far.
“We’re still kind of in that infancy stage,” said OA coach Elaine-Clement Holbrook. “Defensively, we’ve been playing well early, but I don’t think we realize what we’re capable of doing when we’re at our best.”
Despite a 15-point halftime lead (26-11), the Lady Tigers were still looking for some answers offensively. But as the third quarter progressed, OA was finally able to use its experience to its advantage.
Led by co-captain Candace Steadman and Caitlyn Abela, OA quickly went on an 8-0 run out of the locker room in the first three minutes of the second half and outmuscled a young BR squad that is now 0-5 on the young season.
“It was two totally different halves I thought,” said Clement-Holbrook. “We weren’t really in sync in the first half. We had a huge size discrepancy and I don’t think we took advantage of that. Once we got Candace on the fly a little bit and got our layups then things finally settled down in the third quarter and that’s where I was pleased with their play.”
Defensively, OA forced Bridgewater-Raynham to turn the ball over 26 times and into tough shooting situations with its 2-3 zone. B-R shot 6-of-22 from the field – including 0-for-6 from three-point land – and were 7-of-18 from the free throw line.
The Lady Tigers also had a distinct rebound advantage thanks to junior guard/forward Allie Brennan and her 16 boards.
“I was pleased with our defense all night,” Clement-Holbrook said. “Allie Brennan had 16 rebounds and she really stepped it up for us in the second half
Despite the loss, B-R coach Nickie Orlando thought her team progressed nicely during the course of the contest.
“OA is a very talented team and we have a lot of young faces on our squad,” said Orlando, who only has two seniors on her roster. “We missed a lot of layups and couldn’t convert on those. Had we converted on those we could have made then the score might have been a little different.
“But I’m pleased with how our team improved during the course of the contest. The girls are getting better with each game.”
Although neither squad had anyone in double figures, OA used its depth nicely. Each of the Lady Tigers had at least one point with Steadman, Abela, Kristin Ellis and Lexi Gold leading the way with eight points each.
B-R senior captain Audrey Dolloff joined Steadman, Abela, Ellis and Gold leading her team with eight points.
OA hosts Plymouth South in the Rivard finals Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. while Bridgewater-Raynham squares off against New Mission in the consolation game at 6 p.m.