In the first meeting between Oak Harbor and Port Clinton, the Redskins had to play from behind for most of the game and narrowly lost by a point.
The rematch on Tuesday night was an entirely different story. Port Clinton got an early lead and kept adding to it in the 41-21 win at Port Clinton High School.
Senior Tiffany Colston scored 17 points, including the 1,000th of her career seconds before halftime to give her team a boost, and the Redskins held the Rockets to 13 points in the final three quarters.
“The kids needed to come out and play well tonight. A lot of it was because it was Oak Harbor, and they beat us the first time and we weren’t happy about that,” Port Clinton coach Toby Bickell said. “We felt like if we came out and played hard and executed that we could beat them, and I thought we executed pretty well defensively.”
Cecil was practically unstoppable the first time the teams played on Jan. 4 at Oak Harbor, scoring 24 points on a mix of drives and jumpers in a 47-46 victory. This time, Port Clinton (15-3, 10-2 Sandusky Bay Conference) stuck a defender on her the entire night and dared the other players to beat them.
It worked well as Cecil was held to 10 points, and didn’t score in the second and third quarters. By that time Port Clinton was up 26-14 on Oak Harbor (14-4, 9-3 SBC).
“We just didn't let Cecil get to the basket, and we played a lot of (defenses) that kept her from getting to the basket. Marissa Day did a good job on her, with a lot of help from the other four on the floor,” Bickell said. We’re going to man-to-man on No. 23 (Cecil), and hope they don’t hit shots and rebound the misses.
“I felt like the gameplan came together, and what we tried to do and wanted to do came together.”
Oak Harbor coach Tom Kontak said the adjustment “slowed us up,” and the Rockets never found an offensive rhythm as Cecil made three field goals in the game — all in the first quarter. The Rockets made just eight field goals for the game, and never scored in double digits in any of the four quarters.
“Our kids have played their hearts out all year, and we’re just going to tip our cap to Port Clinton on a big night for them,” Kontak said. “I’m happy for Coach Toby, but our goals for the season are very much in our hands.”
Port Clinton was without senior Hope Thorbahn for the game for “a violation of rules,” Bickell said. In her place, sophomore Marissa Day was tabbed for a starting role and the assignment of guarding Cecil.
Maddy Rathbun’s second-chance basket early in the second quarter gave Oak Harbor a 10-9 lead with 6:40 to play. It was the Rockets’ last lead of the game, and their only field goal of the quarter as they went 9 minutes without scoring until Rathbun scored again with 5:41 left in the third. Port Clinton reeled off a 10-0 run before halftime for a 19-10 lead, capped by Colston’s pull-up jumper in the lane with 2.3 seconds left to put her in the 1,000-point club.
“That’s an awesome thing for her, especially to get it at home against Oak Harbor,” Bickell said.
The buzzer sounded as the game was stopped momentarily to recognize Colston’s achievement, but caused some confusion on the floor since it came right before halftime. The basket was just as important for Colston as it was for the momentum and nine-point lead it provided the Redskins.
“I was hoping we could give her the attention it needed, but the bucket itself was big before halftime,” Bickell said. “That’s a nice momentum (swing) when you can hit that before going in.”
In the third quarter, the Rockets connected on just two field goals and the Redskins eventually pushed their lead to double digits with a minute left. Colston’s three-point play, on a putback and free throw, capped the quarter and made it 26-14. From there, Port Clinton coasted on its way to sole possession of second place in the SBC behind league-leaders Clyde. The teams face each other Saturday.
Colston scored 11 points in the second half, and junior teammates Hannah Weaver and Emily Ashley both added nine points. Port Clinton made 13 of 21 free throws and 14 field goals.
Rathbun scored six for Oak Harbor, which had four girls in the scoring column for the night and eight field goals as a team. Cecil was the only player who got to the foul line, making 4 of 5 attempts.
“There was nothing. We had no legs, we were tired,” Kontak said. “Maybe I overdid the schedule. I don’t know. It could be several things. You can’t question the heart and effort of the girls over 18 games.
“The sun will come up and we’ll get a little bit of rest here with the weather, and we’ll be back at it on Saturday (against Perkins).”