Buckeye Division girls basketball game, Nichols scored four points and
contributed to forcing two turnovers, sending the visiting Lady Braves
past Hamilton Township 55-52.
OBETZ — Someone had to step up for the Logan Elm Lady Braves.
Why not senior Alicia Nichols?
In the last 39 seconds of a Friday evening Mid-State League Buckeye Division girls basketball game, Nichols scored four points and contributed to forcing two turnovers, sending the visiting Lady Braves past Hamilton Township 55-52.
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Nichols said. “Someone had to score at the end of the game. We needed it big time and I just decided to take the shots.”
Heather Evans led Logan Elm by scoring 12 of her 14 points in the second half, along with chipping in five rebounds. Emily Robinson canned four three-pointers en route to a 13-point night, and Nichols added 10 points.
“Everyone wanted this game very bad,” Evans said. “These are the type of games Brittney (Oberley) loved to be apart of. It makes us think of her and want to fight till the last second.”
The Hamilton Township wins continues a rebound effort for the Lady Braves.
Logan Elm began the season by rolling off eight wins, including a victory on the road against defending MSL champion Circleville. The Lady Braves were tripped up against Bloom-Carroll for its first league loss and went down to Unioto last week. Logan Elm broke the two-game skid by defeating Adena and getting a tough road win against Hamilton Township.
“A lot of people wrote us off at the beginning of the season so we could just play relaxed and have fun,” Evans said. “But the pressure started to build as we continued to win and we started to panic.
“After losing to Bloom-Carroll, it allowed us to step back, take a breath and get back to having fun. We play our best basketball when we’re having fun and these last two games have been important for us to get back on track.”
Logan Elm (10-2, 6-1) took control of the game during the second quarter, led by Robinson canning a trio of triples and scoring 10 points. Runs of 13-3 and 5-0 allowed the Lady Braves to take a 31-23 halftime lead.
Back to back three-pointers by Robinson and Evans, along with two free throws from Evans built the Logan Elm lead up to 41-29 midway through the third quarter.
With its back against the wall, Hamilton Township (6-5, 4-3) responded by dialing up its defensive pressure.
The Lady Rangers cut the Logan Elm lead down to six at the end of the third period and tied the game at 50-50 with 46.8 seconds remaining on two free throws by Megan Hardyman.
“Hamilton deserves credit for their pressure,” Logan Elm coach Donna Peters said. “It caused us some problems but I thought overall our girls fought through it and kept their composure.
“We were also battling foul trouble for most of the game. Everyone had a foul except for Alyvia Clark in the first half, and Heather Evans and Natalie Steed were in big foul trouble for the whole second half.”
Nichols came down on the next possession and spotted up to hit a jumper to put the Lady Braves back in front.
After Hamilton tied the game again with a layup from Alex Harris, both teams didn’t score for the next 20 seconds.
“When our girls are in a tentative position, that is when we seem to increase the tempo,” Hamilton Township coach Matt Thompson said. “We were able to force some turnovers and convert them into buckets.”
Logan Elm caught a break when a Hamilton inbound pass bounced off the leg of Lindsay Brokaw that Nichols scooped up and was fouled on the shot. The Logan Elm senior converted both free throws to put the Lady Braves ahead 54-52.
“We lose our sense of urgency at times,” Thompson said. “We had too many turnovers in the first half, and then we had a couple of costly turnovers at the end and fouled them on a shot.
“Our mistakes were crucial, but you hope our girls can learn from them. Logan Elm is an excellent team and they fought hard for this win.”
Hamilton’s Lacey Marcum failed to convert a one-and-one on the other end with Alyvia Clark bringing down the key rebound.
Evans was then sent to the line and made one of two shots to put Logan Elm ahead by three.
After a timeout, Hamilton tried to inbound the ball with 1.9 seconds left, but Nichols tipped the pass into the hands of Clark to preserve the win.
Megan Campbell led Hamilton Township with 14 points and Hardyman scored 10.
Logan Elm had a major advantage at the charity stripe, making 18 of 26 shots against seven of 11 converted by Hamilton Township.
“Our free throw shooting was a big key to the game,” Peters said.
The Lady Braves return home Tuesday to face Teays Valley. Hamilton Township travels to Bloom-Carroll on the same evening.