One Sandusky Bay Conference hurdle down, another big one to go.
Oak Harbor (8-2, 5-1) came up with a 54-36 league win over Margaretta (4-5, 2-5) Saturday at Margaretta High School.
"Today was a game I thought was vital, in that, going to Margaretta, another tough SBC road game," Oak Harbor coach Tom Kontak said. "I have such respect for Coach (Tim) Tucker. I've studied this, I think he's like No. 8 all-time in the history of (Ohio high school) girls basketball coaches in wins and you don't just do that overnight. We've battled over the years and it's always something you can feel good about, winning at Margaretta, because that is not something that's easy to do.”
The win sets up a battle of teams with 5-1 SBC records when Oak Harbor takes on Port Clinton next week on the road.
“Hopefully that'll be a little build up and we'll be a little bit better, because (Port Clinton is) really good," Kontak said. "Each of us has a loss in the conference to Clyde, so we'll see what happens."
Against the Polar Bears, Oak Harbor took the lead for good midway through the first quarter after a couple lead changes and a tie, and never relinquished it.
The Rockets got on the board first as Maddy Rathbun scored fifteen seconds in, but Margaretta came back 20 seconds later with an Alex Michel 3-pointer for its lone lead of the game, 3-2. Oak Harbor came back with back-to-back buckets from Amanda Hetrick and Andrea Cecil to take a 6-3 lead two minutes in, but Gabby Keller's old-fashioned three-point play tied things up at 6-6 with 4:24 to go in the quarter.
Athena Eli's trey with 3:49 to go gave the Rockets the lead for good, and the teams traded buckets to close the quarter with Oak Harbor leading 11-8.
"I thought we distributed the ball to all players as good as we've done all year long," Kontak said. "I'm really proud of the girls for the trust that they had in each other."
The Rockets opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run as Cecil made the second of a pair of free throws, then Rathbun added a bucket and point after and a perfect performance at the charity stripe to take a 17-8 lead two minutes into the quarter.
The teams traded buckets throughout the rest of the quarter and the Rockets took a 25-17 lead into halftime.
"Too many turnovers in the first quarter, 12 missed bunnies, free throws — we gave away some one and ones — we've got to make some foul shots," Tucker said. "But other than that, we did some good things, we just need to get better offensively. We're just not a very good team offensively. Our kids have got to buy into doing the little things right."
The teams traded buckets throughout the second half — and Margaretta cut the margin to eight points, 42-34, off back-to-back buckets from Becca Denman midway through the fourth quarter — but the Rockets answered back with a 12-2 run to close the game.
"We're young, they're young too," Tucker said. "Both teams are young, but they right now, have a stand out player. We don't have a go-to offensive threat and they do. The Cecil girl is one of the best five or six players in the league and with her, they got somebody to go to in pressure and we just don't. We don't have an offensive person. We have to do it as a team, and we have to hope everybody contributes. We're learning."
Cecil led all scorers with 18 points, while Rathbun added 11 and Eli had nine for Oak Harbor.
Kristen Yost led the Polar Bears with 12 points, while Denman had nine.
Margaretta has a rough couple of games coming up, as they travel to undefeated Willard (9-0) on Thursday, then visit Clyde (11-0, 6-0) Saturday.