XENIA – After losing two of its last three games, the Greenville Lady Wave got back on the winning track Wednesday night with a 54-29 road win at Xenia.
It was a dominating performance that saw the Lady Wave surge to a 34-13 halftime lead and they never looked back. Haleigh Mayo-Behnken had 12 of her team-high 18 points in the first half, while Jada Garland connected on a pair of 3-pointers for all of her 6 points and junior Morgan Gilbert got the hot hand with 8 of her 13 points in the first half including two triples in the second quarter.
“When you give up less than 30 points, defensively we did a lot of really good things,” Greenville coach Rachel Kerns said. “Offensively, we had a lot of looks – 52 of them to be exact. When you shoot 26 percent you don’t always end up on the winning side of things, but we took care of the ball for the most part. We are a few girls down right now so any time you can go on the road and get a win it’s always a good night.”
The Lady Wave defense forced 22 Buccaneer turnovers, according to Kerns.
“We have them unofficially for 22 turnovers and I would say our defense forced quite a few of those, maybe not directly into steals but travels or out of bounds passes and things like that,” Kerns said. “We played hard and with some of our girls down others had to step up. Nyesha Wright got a lot of minutes. Mayo did a really good job scoring and Jada is always an outside threat. Lani Shilt does such a good job defensively for us. She is always guarding their best player and Koryann (Elliott) and (Annie) Hayes did a good job down low tonight. They both finished around 6 or 8 points and any time we get 12-14 points from our post it is usually a good night. It was just a good team win.”
It was also the third game back for Gilbert. She has 2 points in her first game against West Carrollton and did not score on Monday against Milton-Union. Tonight, she hit double figures with 13 points.
“It nice having Morgan back,” Kerns said. “She is just kind of our rock and our leader and every game she is just getting a little bit better. We have to think this is really like scrimmage No. 3 because she didn’t get to play in any of those. We think back to where we were then to where we are now and she is fitting in very nicely.”
Xenia only had three players reach the scoring column and Kamea Baker accounted for almost all of it with a game-high 20 points for the Buccs. Olivia Wakefield had 7 points and Haley McManus got one basket.
“I think it has been the way our last few games have gone which is we have played as hard as our opponents,” Xenia coach Jamie Hand said. “We executed as well, but they hit more shots. Greenville did a good job tonight. They are well coached and they ran their sets and hit their shots. It is what I told the girls – one of these days if we keep working at it our shots will fall and it will be a little different story. Tonight, all the credit in the world goes to Greenville. They played a good game, their kids hustled and I thought they did a great job.”
The Lady Buccaneers did get on a stretch in the third quarter where they got to the free throw line nine times including on a couple of technical fouls against Greenville, but they only connected on four of those extra shots and then the Lady Wave found their offensive groove again closing out the quarter with a 45-22 advantage.
“Xenia is a very athletic team and sometimes it is really hard playing against the more athletic teams,” Kerns said. “When you are talking more of the skilled players you typically know where the ball is going to go, but when you are playing more of the athletic type teams it is helter skelter. Sometimes those teams are harder to defend, but I think we really did a good job. They made some really tough shots and they had one player who shot the ball extremely well tonight. Otherwise, we did a really good job I think in our halfcourt.”
Greenville returns to action on Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. tipoff with Stivers at home.
Score by quarters
Greenville – Haleigh Mayo-Behnken 5 7 18, Nyesha Wright 0 3 3, Morgan Gilbert 4 2 13, Jada Garland 2 0 6, Koryann Elliott 2 4 8, Annie Hayes 1 4 6. Totals: 14 20 54.
Xenia – Haley McManus 1 0 2, Kamea Baker 6 5 20, Olivia Wakefield 3 1 7. Totals: 10 6 29.
3-pointers – Greenville 6 (Gilbert 3, Garland 2, Mayo-Behnken 1), Xenia 3 (Baker 3).
Records: Greenville (6-7, 4-5 GWOC), Xenia (1-13, 1-7 GWOC).
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.