Boyertown holds tight in third, close out OJR 49-31

BUCKTOWN — Her team was up three to Owen J. Roberts, but after picking up her third foul midway through the second quarter Boyertown forward Ali Bauman’s frustration became apparent.

Luckily for the junior, her teammates knew just how to pick her up.

“They told me to get it out of my head and just play, just settle down,’ Bauman said.

Bauman heeded her teammates’ advice as the 6-0 center erupted in the third, torching the Wildcats for eight points while the Bears defense put the clamp down on OJR, expanding a seven-point halftime lead to a commanding 18-point advantage en route to a 49-31 victory Friday night.

Bauman finished the game with a game-high 15 points, as Boyertown (2-0 PAC-10, 4-0 overall) outscored the Wildcats (0-2, 1-3) in the decisive third quarter by a 17-6 margin, holding OJR scoreless in the quarter’s opening 5:08. Abby Kapp and Maria Garofolo, the two other 6-0 bigs for Boyertown, finished with nine and seven points, respectively.

“The first half Owen J. did a nice job of forcing us into some turnovers,’ Boyertown head coach Jason Bieber said. “We talked about cleaning up those turnovers at halftime and Ali was in a little bit of foul trouble so we re-established our inside game.

“They did a nice job of doubling and pinching in hard on her, but we did a nice job of finding her in the third quarter.’

Bauman found it easy sledding in the paint as the Bears’ fast-break helped her convert on two easy buckets underneath and earn three trips to the foul line. Meanwhile, Garofolo and Kapp made their presence felt on the defensive end, denying Nikki Testa and Rebecca Painter clear trips to the basket while forcing misguided passes into double coverage.

“We have a lot of speed and we were able to capitalize on it tonight,’ Bauman said. “We were able to get a little bit of a run going in the third quarter and were able to use our speed and height to get after them.’

Jordan Webb’s acrobatic tip to Garofolo highlighted a 10-0 run in the opening five minutes of the third before Hannah Jaskuta’s 3-pointer in the waning stages gave the Bears its largest lead of the game (20) and allowed them to play damage control in the final quarter.

“We just look out of sorts at times but we need to get more aggressive on offense and try to alleviate defenses crashing on Nikki Testa,’ OJR head coach Jeremy Mellon said. “Becca (Painter) has done a nice job getting in the paint. In film I’ll see that what she did was what you would want your point guard to do: to get in there and attack.’

OJR saw significant contributions from Painter (11 points) and Arias (eight points), but the prolonged dry spell in the third quarter acted as the death knell to the Wildcats’ chances as the team missed its first seven field goal tries in the frame.

“If we can stop turning over the ball in the half-court set and make some shots, we can hang in the game with anybody,’ Mellon said. “I was encouraged minus the third quarter. We were all right. We just can’t have those third quarters. That was the game.’

The Wildcats had kept it close throughout the first two quarters due to strong play from Painter and the sharpshooting Testa, keeping the game at 18-15 before Bauman picked up her third foul. After that however, the Bears slowly began to flex their might.

Sarafina Valenti’s jumper, Katie Armstrong’s putback and Jaskuta’s layup in the closing stages of the second quarter helped pave the Bears to a 24-17 advantage and give the Bears a much needed pick-me-up before putting its foot down on OJR in the second half.

“We just had to settle down,’ Bauman said concerning her team’s first-half struggle. “Once we were able to figure out that we could settle down, we ran the offense that we knew we could, ran the fast-break with the right passes and found the open buckets.’


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