On Saturday afternoon, VASJ Lady Vikings basketball traveled to Lake Catholic High School to take on the Lady Cougars for the second time in a week for the first round of the OHSAA tournament. The Lady Vikings avenged their loss from earlier in the week and beat the Cougars 50-42 to advance to the sectional final round of the OHSAA tournament.
The game began with both teams playing inspired defense, neither allowing the opponent to score through the opening minutes of the game. Finally, junior Michele Blackshear got a steal and converted at the other end for the game’s first points. Blackshear had another bucket in the quarter and VASJ led after one 5-4.
The second quarter began and both teams found their offensive rhythm. Blackshear continued to lead the offensive attack for the Vikings scoring four more points in the quarter. The senior trio of Iyana Smith, Lia Campbell, and Kenya Ball all contributed points in the second quarter to extend the Viking lead. Sophomore point guard Willo Singleton added a basket and a free throw to close the quarter with VASJ leading 22-15 at the half.
During the third quarter, Grandini, Hudik, and Kotek all hit crucial three-point shots for the Cougars as they tried to make a dent in the Viking lead. But the Lady Vikings countered by continually driving to the hoop and drawing fouls to get to the free-throw line. VASJ went six-for-six from the charity stripe in the quarter. VASJ led 37-31 heading into the final quarter.
The start of the fourth was similar to the first, with neither team scoring much for the first few minutes. Lake Catholic continued to push the Lady Vikings and try to get back into the game, but once again the Lady Vikings remained poised and were able to match each Lake Catholic run. Campbell continued to grab rebounds under both baskets and Singleton, Ball, Blackshear, and Smith all made multiple foul shots in the fourth for a total of 10 points. After multiple trips to the line resulting in converted free throws, the Vikings were able to seal the game and win 50-42
The Lady Vikings play again on Thursday, February 21, against Gilmour Academy in the Sectional Final. That game will be played at Gilmour Academy at 7 p.m.