To say Tecumseh beat Kenton Ridge at halftime Saturday night might be stretching the point a bit. But the Arrows and their star Bianca Quisenberry were clearly a different team in the second half.
The Arrows rallied from a nine-point deficit and Quisenberry scored 22 of her game-high 26 points in the second half and overtime for a 72-69 victory and a firm grip on the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division.
After Quisenberry’s subpar first half, Arrows coach Danielle Thomas told her how the second half had to be.
“I had to look to score more – coming off screens and driving and if I didn’t have the shot look for other people,” Quisenberry said. “That was the key to the second half.”
Quisenberry had also uncharacteristically missed two free-throw chances late in the first half, so she spent her halftime warm-up time shooting free throws. She made 13 of 14 in the second half with all but two of them coming in the fourth quarter.
“I said it’s time to wake up, and she did,” Thomas said of her halftime talk with Quisenberry. “She proved why she is who she is.”
Tecumseh (14-1, 7-0) took its first lead since 7-6 at 61-60 with 3:21 left. A 3-pointer by Paige McCrary (14 points) and a three-point play by Stefanie Davis (22 points) put the Cougars up 66-65 with 1:16 left. Later, with the score tied at 67, Tecumseh held for the last shot but a 3-point try bounced off the rim.
Quisenberry dribbled away most of the overtime as the Arrows grabbed the early lead. Kenton Ridge had a chance to tie late but failed to get off a 3-point attempt as time expired.
Without freshmen Lindsey Nartker and Danielle Franklin scoring 20 and 11 points, respectively, the score would have not been close enough for Quisenberry to make a difference.
“They kept us in this game until the seniors stepped up,” Thomas said.
Kenton Ridge (11-4, 3-3) started fast with McCrary scoring 11 in the first quarter and building a lead to 30-19 with 13 fast-break points.
“It was a good game,” Kenton Ridge coach Ed Foulk said. “It’s tough to keep that tempo up sometimes.”
The Arrows now have a two-game lead on Tippecanoe and Bellefontaine. Beating Kenton Ridge for the second time was special for Quisenberry.
“You always want to beat the people that have been successful in our league like the KRs and the Tipps,” she said. “Some have more meaning than others.”