Kovalcik powers Oak Glen
By ANDREW GRIMM
NEW MANCHESTER, W.Va. — When the game is on the line, a senior leader stepping up can make a big difference.
Maggie Kovalcik, Oak Glen’s multi-sport standout and the lone senior on the girls basketball team, did just that on Thursday night, scoring 24 of her game-high 29 points in the second half to lead the Golden Bears to a 55-37 victory over Brooke.
“She does some crazy things sometimes,” said Oak Glen coach Scott Wiley, who is in his first season of his second stint coaching the Golden Bears. “If she does one negative thing, she comes back and does two positive things right after. She is our senior, and she is a good senior leader for us.”
The Bruins (2-11) cut a 15-point deficit to five with just over three minutes to go in the contest, but Kovalcik sparked a 13-0 Golden Bears (5-8) run to close the game, scoring 13 points in the final eight minutes.
“You can’t teach that quickness that she has,” Wiley said. “She had a couple of steals and made a couple of layups (during the run). That was real big to get those points.”
For Brooke coach Ryan Scherich, the way the game played out down the stretch was all too familiar.
“This is the story of our season,” he said. “We get down by double figures, fight back in the game and then run out of gas. We have to waste too much energy getting back in the game instead of playing with intensity from the get go. Give Oak Glen credit, they came out with a game plan and bumped us around. My kids like to play finesse basketball. They don’t like to be bumped and rubbed.”
The focus for Oak Glen was stopping Brooke’s Hope Bowman. After she pulled seven of her game-high 14 boards in the first quarter, the plan worked, holding her to just seven points.
“We watched a lot of film (from last season’s games against Brooke), and we did not want (Bowman taking over) to happen again,” Wiley said. “The circumstances are different year-by-year, but the girls are believing in what we are telling them. Defensively, Izzy Barganski and Alayna Kranis did a wonderful job.
“Our game plan was to stop her and contain everyone else. My two assistant coaches, Ashley Tharp and Rachel McKay, deserve a lot of credit. They suggested (the game plan for Bowman). The girls worked on it in practice and it worked out.”
Reece Enochs hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 11 points for the Golden Bears. Brittany Giorgini and Maddie McKay each netted five points.
Brooke was led by Chloe Fox, who also hit twice from beyond the arc and finished with 13 points. Chrissy Byers scored seven points.
After the Golden Bears led by double digits twice in the second quarter, they held a 22-14 advantage at halftime. That lead grew to 37-22 in the third quarter before the Bruins started to claw back.
Fox hit her 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to cut the deficit to seven before an Emily Knorr bucket cut it to five with 5:30 to play. Brooke got back within five with 3:15 to go at 42-37, but it did not score another point the rest of the way while Oak Glen pulled away.
“We have trouble scoring, and it makes me nervous when a team makes a run on us,” Wiley said. “We found a way to score when we needed to. The girls were moving the ball around well. They are paying attention and listening to us when we tell them what they need to do.”
The Golden Bears play at county rival Weir High on Monday.
Brooke won the two-quarter jayvee game, 29-23. Ally Severs scored nine for the Golden Bears.
BROOKE: 8-6-11-12 — 37
OAK GLEN: 17-5-15-18 — 55
BROOKE (2-11): Fox 4 3-4 13; Platt 0 0-0 0; Buchmelter 1 0-0 2; Ryan 1 1-4 3; Byers 3 1-4 7; Bowman 1 5-8 7; Knorr 2 0-0 5. TOTALS: 12 10-20 37.
OAK GLEN (5-8): Giorgini 2 1-2 5; Enochs 4 1-1 11; Kovalcik 11 7-9 29; McNutt 0 0-0 0; McKay 2 1-2 5; Barganski 1 0-0 2; Roger 0 0-0 0; Kranis 0 3-4 3. TOTALS: 20 13-18 55.
3-POINT GOALS: Brooke 3 (Fox 2, Knorr); Oak Glen 2 (Enochs 2). ASSISTS: Brooke 9 (Fox 4); Oak Glen 11 (McKay 3). REBOUNDS: Brooke 26 (Bowman 14); Oak Glen 29 (Kranis 8). TURNOVERS: Brooke 26; Oak Glen 18.