As the old saying goes, “you can’t teach height.” The St. Vincent girls found that out the hard way. Oran used its height to its advantage early and often as they took down St. Vincent 55-28 in the Class 2, District 3 tournament championship game on Thursday. The victory claimed the eighth straight district title for the Oran girls program.
“Even when they take a girls out, that person is still taller than our tallest person,” St. Vincent girls coach Mel Kirn said. “They had seven or eight girls that way it seemed and you can’t beat that. We tried to go man-to-man and matchup with them that way, but we couldn’t handle their screens. I thought we did a good job boxing out, but when the rebound comes out high all they had to do is reach up because they have another four or five inches on us.”
St. Vincent senior Lacey Best made a lay-up to push St. Vincent ahead 4-3 just minutes into the game, but from that moment on, the Eagles took control. Haley Webb swished a trio of three-pointers which sparked a 32-4 run for the rest of the half. St. Vincent scored all their points from the free throw line in the final 14 minutes of the first half. The Eagles led 35-8 at the halftime break.
Oran was led by the Webb duo of Haley and Katie with 13 points each, while Traci Hensy had 12. St. Vincent did not have a player reach double figures as Genevieve Lipe and Lola Dauster led with six points, while Reese Barber had four points.
With Oran’s sizable height advantage and maybe because of it. Kirn believed that his team missed some easy shots in the lane and at the rim that would have made the game much closer in the first 16 minutes.
“We just had a bad night shooting,” Kirn said. “We was ice cold. We missed eight layups in the first half that if they go in, the score would have looked a lot different. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
To emphasize Kirn’s point, the Indians made seven field goals in the game, and just two shots in the first half, while Oran made 22 shots in the contest, many of them coming off of extra possessions thanks to offensive rebounds.
“We ran our offense, but the shots didn’t fall,” Kirn said. “I told the girls at half to just keep shooting. I would hate to think what our actual percentage was from the floor.”
The Indians finally got out of their slump with a jumper from Reese Barber at the 4:10 mark of the third quarter that stopped a scoreless drought of nearly 20 minutes of game time.
St. Vincent finally found some offensive traction in the second half with a lay-up from Hannah Riney off an inbounds pass and Lola Dauster splashed home a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Off the performance in the game, Kirn knows that his Indians were beaten by the better team on the night. Kirn would not be surprised if Oran made a run in the Class 2 playoffs.
“They should go far,” Kirn said. “It’s going to take a good team to beat them that can match up with their size. There is not a weak spot on their team. I think we might have been beaten by the state champions.”
The Indians will lose seven seniors from the team, that included Zoey Wibbenmeyer, Emerson Kirn, Mary Schwartz, Hannah Riney, Genevieve Lipe, Lola Dauster, and Lacey Best, which finished the year at 12-10.
“They were all leaders in some way and that’s the reason I never named a captain this year,” Kirn said. “The girls will go off and compete in soccer and track in the spring and those coaches will get amazing girls who never quit.”