GREENVILLE – Too many mental lapses including unforced turnovers and missed free throws cost Greenville on Thursday as the Lady Wave lost by one point, 57-56, to Milton-Union.
“The two things that really killed us were turnovers and missed free throws,” Greenville girls basketball coach Rachel Kerns said. “This game hurts because we had it right there, and we just didn’t do the little things to finish it. Down the stretch we made our free throws, and that’s really encouraging to see as a coach, but we just had to do a better job of taking care of the ball for four quarters.”
Greenville’s inability to take care of the basketball was a big problem early on as the Wave committed numerous first quarter turnovers, which helped Milton-Union build an early 11-2 lead.
The Lady Wave settled down midway through the opening quarter and significantly reduced their turnovers, allowing them to pull within three points at 13-10. Milton-Union scored the final six points of the quarter, however, and led 19-10. Kristen Dickison paced the Bulldogs with 12 first quarter points on her way to a game-high 28.
Milton-Union had a big height advantage on Greenville as four Bulldogs were taller than the Lady Wave’s tallest player, the 5-foot 9-inch Cassie Cromwell. However, Greenville was able to deal with the height disparity well and forced Milton-Union to convert many of its scoring opportunities from the outside with players such as Dickison and Madeline Brown.
“Defensively we did a lot of really good things once we got out of that first quarter,” Kerns said. “The first quarter we gave up too many points, but after that we really seemed to do an OK job defensively.”
The second quarter in particular Greenville came up big on defense, holding Milton-Union to just 9 points. That allowed the Lady Wave, who scored 19 points in the period, to take a 29-28 lead. Karsyn Shaffer made the go-ahead basket with just 4.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give the Wave their first lead of the night.
The third quarter was tightly contested. Milton-Union managed to build a 40-35 lead, but Greenville battled back and scored the final 4 points of the quarter to make it a one-point game, 40-39, entering the fourth quarter.
Buoyed by a couple quick 3-pointers from Madeline Brown, Milton-Union built its lead back to 9 points early in the fourth quarter, 48-39. For the rest of the game Greenville had to play from behind, but the Lady Wave didn’t go away easily.
Greenville fought back and again pulled within a single point. The Wave had the ball with 4.3 seconds remaining but couldn’t get off a shot and lost by just one point.
“Effort was fantastic,” Kerns said. “I think we gave really great effort. We just had costly errors. We had way too many turnovers, and we missed 11 (of 27) free throws. To lose a game by one, those 11 free throws stick out a whole lot more.”
Jada Garland and Kaylee Jackson, both of whom came off the bench, led Greenville with 12 points on Thursday.
“That’s just where we are as a team offensively,” Kerns said. “It can be any one person any night, and that’s what’s exciting about where we are. It’s also hard because I don’t know who it’s going to be. But Jada came in and her job is just go and knock down the 3-point shot, and she did a good job. And Kaylee Jackson actually played a really well-rounded game tonight.”
Also for the Lady Wave, Cromwell scored 9 points, Saki Nakamura scored 8, Shaffer scored 6, Lani Shilt scored 5, and Payton Brandenburg scored 4.
Dickison led Milton-Union with her game-high 28 points. Also for the Bulldogs, Madeline Brown scored 9 points, Taylor Jacobs scored 6, Elizabeth Renner scored 6, Beyonce Bobbitt scored 4, Oliva Brown scored 2, and Brianne Stone scored 2.
Milton-Union improved to 4-3 with Thursday’s win while Greenville fell to 4-6.
“We have to learn from this game,” Kerns said. “We have to learn from it.”
Greenville will return to action on Wednesday at West Carrollton.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.