GREENVILLE – A free throw is never free because if you miss too many of them it will cost you a win, but if you make more than your share it will get you a win in a tight game.
Such was the case and points if you will Wednesday night at the half-filled Second National Bank court in the Greenville High gymnasium. Greenville powered its way to a win over Fairborn 59-42 with the help of eight 3-pointers and 21 free throws much to the delight of Wave nation.
The Fairborn Skyhawks fall to 7-9 overall and 6-4 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game as they were held below their average of 53 points per game. Greenville is now an even 7-7 overall and 5-5 in this GWOC.
Khala Powell and Evelyn Octavek combined for 30 of the Skyhawks’ 42 points. Powell had 16 and Octavek added 14. The Wave were led by Jada Garland, who garnished the net for 20 followed extremely close by Morgan Gilbert with 14 and 13 by Haleigh Mayo-Behken.
The first quarter was Fairborn’s finest hour, but the only problem is they play four periods and not just one. The Lady Wave fought hard with them as it was 7-6 halfway through the first until Jim Cole’s Skyhawks scored 7 out of the next 10 points for a 14-9 lead. Octavek and Jodee Austin led the Skyhawks with 5 points apiece to help the Greene County squad out. The Wave leading scorer for the canto was Garland with 5. Lani Shilt popped in a long distant three from way downtown to keep things close.
Second quarter servings was all Greenville as they lit up the scoreboard for 21 points against the rough and tumble Skyhawks, who were physical with a capital P. The Skyhawks could only muster 10 for an 11-point turnaround for Rachel Kern’s cagers that were once down 16-9 early in the frame. Octavek once again led her charges with another five by hitting half of her team’s total for the 8 minutes of action. The Wave had plenty of action in this frame as Mayo-Behnken was here, there and everywhere with 9 for the quarter almost outscoring the Skyhawks by herself. Garland and Nyesha Wright were right on target with three apiece as a total of six Wave players scored in the quarter.
Third quarter theatrics had both defenses come alive with only a total of 17 points scored combined to still give the Wave a 9-point advantage at 40-31 going into the fourth period. The Fairborn squad only had two players score for Cole’s contingent in Powell with 5 and Octavek with 2. Greenville had Garland again rising to the scoring occasion with two 3’s for her total of 6 out of the team’s 10 spot.
Fourth quarter firings showed the Wave clicking on all cylinders with high octane fuel by going for 19 and holding the Skyhawks to 11 by breaking their press with ease. When they did not break their press they had the Skyhawks breaking into their arms and legs with fouls galore with several Skyhawk players fouling out. This created a parade to the foul line that Skyhawk fans did not want to see again as the Wave attempted an eye popping 35 from the charity stripe compared to 14 for Fairborn. Powell had 6 for Fairborn to lead their losing cause along with scoring newcomer Natalie Oktavek who had a long range three. The fourth quarter belonged to Greenville’s Gilbert as the junior showcased her free throw expertise in nailing down 12 of 14 from the charity stripe. Garland was the black line bomber converting two long range treys that had Wave fans oohing and awing for her six adding to the winning total of 59.
”We really came together as a team tonight after the first quarter and playing shut down defense against Octavek, who was hurting us in the first half. We were able to break the press and frustrate them causing them to foul us. Then Morgan (Gilbert) nailed the game by hitting free throw after free throw in the fourth. We must now refocus as we play Troy at Troy on Saturday afternoon in a big game for us as we look to improve each and every time out, ” stated Kerns.
Scoring for Fairborn – Powell 16, Natalie Octavek 7, Evelyn Octavek 14, Austin 5 for 42 points. Five triples, 10 regulars and 7 out of 14 from the charity stripe for 50 percent.
Scoring for Greenville – Mayo-Behnken 13, Wright 5, Shilt 5, Gilbert 14, Garland 20 and Annie Hayes 2 for 59 points. Eight triples. 7 regulars and 21 out of 35 freebies for 60 percent.