The shots didn’t fall and the calls didn’t go its way, needless to say it was not a good night for the West Jefferson girls basketball team as it played at Grandview Heights on Friday, Jan. 24.
The Roughriders (9-5, 6-3 Mid-State League Ohio Division) played from behind for most of the night, rallied late to make it interesting but eventually dropped the road affair 42-34.
West Jeff for the most part look disinterested and sluggish for the better part of three and a half quarters. It struggled to solve the 2-3 zone implemented by the Bobcats (13-4, 7-3) until the game’s final three minutes when it suddenly caught fire. The Roughriders drilled three shots from beyond the three-point arc in the closing minutes to cut what was a 30-19 deficit to 33-31 with just over a minute to play, but the home team connected on 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute to hold on for the win.
The fact that a majority of the Bobcats points came from the free throw line wasn’t lost on West Jefferson coach Tim Converse who saw his team struggle to get going and then had to deal with Grandview’s parade to the charity stripe.
“We had seen this same defense before we just didn’t handle it very well tonight,” Converse said. “We’ve got to be more aggressive and attacking it the way we should. I know one of the big disparities in the game was that they shot 30 foul shots and we shot 13. The fouls were doubled. We got called for 23 and I think they only had 11.
“It’s kind of ridiculous. I’m not blaming the game on those but it sure hurts your ability to come back when they are constantly going to the free throw line.”
Grandview had scoring balance Grace Palmer lead the way with 12, Allison Voelker added nine, while Dareth Douglass and Megan McCauley had eight apiece.
West Jefferson got a team-high 14 points from Madison Gatley and nine from Claire Sterling, but the fact the Roughriders lacked energy and a sense of urgency at the start of the game and coming out of the locker room after halftime are things the team will surely be working on going forward.
“We’re going to spend some time on it, but we’ve got to move on,” Converse said. “We have a game tomorrow so we have to move on. We will look at film and talk about it. I tell you what, I won’t put up with any pouting from the kids.”
West Jefferson has had its share of ups and downs this season, the coach is hoping that the team can find a groove before the postseason rolls around.
“We’re just real inconsistent,” he said. “Sometimes we play very well and other nights we have periods like we did tonight. In the third quarter we just didn’t come out very well. It’s nice to put a run together late, but we probably waited too long.”
The Roughriders will be in action on Saturday, Jan. 25, when they play host to Columbus School for Girls, game time is slated for 2 p.m.