ARCANUM – The Arcanum girls basketball team knew one main way to beat Miami East was to keep Viking senior Morgan Haney off the scoreboard.
For the first half, the Lady Trojans did just that but when the second half began, so did Haney who scored a game-high 16 points to lead Miami East to a 54-41 win over Arcanum.
“We started out OK, but give them credit as they made the adjustments they needed with their players,” Arcanum coach Michael Dean said. “We executed our game plan to start like we wanted to. We wanted to put pressure on them and at times I thought we looked really good.
“We contained, in my mind, the No. 1 player we have seen this year in Morgan Haney,” he continued. “She is averaging about 20 points a game and we kept her to zero points in the first half, but that second half we did not come out like we should have. We settled back and it is a lesson for my girls to learn. Also for us you can’t shoot 10-for-26 from the free throw line and expect to stay in the game.”
The Trojans jumped on top quickly with an 8-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Vikings began to rally and crawled to within three at 9-6 with a 6-0 run late in the half that took them from down being 11-10 to a 16-11 lead with 55 seconds left before the break. The half ended with the Vikings on top 18-13, where they would stay the rest of the game.
“I knew they would bring a lot of pressure and that made us play faster with the ball than I think we wanted to play so we were struggling a bit with rushing our shots and doing some other things,” Miami East coach Bruce Vanover said. “We just talked about settling down and getting more ball movement.
“Paxton Hunley came off the bench and hit a three to get us going,” he continued. “I think that was huge in letting all that nervous energy go away and the girls just kind of settled down really.”
That’s when Haney took over. The senior scored 9 points of the Vikings 20 third quarter points and then added 7 more in the fourth quarter as she reached 1,000 points for her career on a layup for her 14th point of the game.
“We knew coming in she needed 14 points,” Vanover said. “When we went in at halftime we said if you would have told us Morgan Haney had 0 points in the first half and we had the lead we wouldn’t have believed it because we go with her for the most part. When she gets going, we get going and I think that says a lot about our younger kids as they stepped up with three starters in the bench in foul trouble in the first half.
“We told Morgan just to keep going,” he continued. “I got a little wound up in the first half myself and she was like coach calm down, we’re fine. You know you can learn from your players sometimes and that’s what I told her. It was amazing she had a big thing on your mind and she stayed calm the whole time. I think that is just the kind of player she is.”
Vanover explained that Haney, who will play in college at the University of Albany, reached this milestone in a little more than two season. She missed her entire sophomore season and only played eight games so far this year.
“It was a big day for Haney,” Dean said. “She is a good ball player. Real smooth. We denied her with some pretty good defense in the first half, but she came back in the second half and really made the difference for them. That’s what good players do.”
Arcanum found more offense in the second half too. Kayla O’Daniel had 8 of her team-leading 11 points in the second half and freshman Taylor Gray tallied 9 of her 10 points in the final 16 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Vikings. The Trojans did get as close as six points (40-34) in the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t get back in control of the game.
“We are young with three freshmen right there in that first rotation and they are going to make freshman mistakes,” Dean said. “But they work hard and we will get passed that. It is just learning for another game and I think they understand that.
“I hate to see one get away like that,” he continued. “Not to take anything away from Miami East. That’s a good team. It does make me feel good that we are playing two or three good quarters of basketball, but now we have to play four and we will get there.”
In addition to her 10 points, Gray had 13 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. Also, O’Daniel and Gracie Garno had 4 assists each for Arcanum. Also scoring for the Trojans, Camille Pohl had 7 points followed by Madelyn Fearon with 6, Garno with 4 and Hailey Unger with 3.
Besides Haney’s 16 for Miami East, Camryn Miller had 13 points followed by Emily Adkins and Whitley Gross each with 7 to lead the Vikings.
Score by quarters
Miami East – Emily Adkins 2 3 7, Paxton Hunley 1 0 3, Morgan Haney 7 1 16, Rori Hunley 2 0 4, Camryn Miller 6 0 13, Maria Staton 1 0 2, Whitley Gross 3 1 7, Lauren Wright 0 2 2. Totals: 22 7 54.
Arcanum – Gracie Garno 0 4 4, Camille Pohl 2 3 7, Madelyn Fearon 2 0 6, Hailey Unger 1 0 3, Kayla O’Daniel 4 2 11, Taylor Gray 4 2 10. Totals: 13 13 41.
3-pointers: Miami East 3 (P.Hunley, Haney, Miller), Arcanum 4 (Fearon 2, H. Unger, O’Daniel)
Records: Miami East (6-2, 4-0 CCC), Arcanum (5-3, 2-1 CCC)
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.