There was no magic in it, she insisted. The ball went up. It kicked off the rim. And there she was, gratefully accepting geometry’s largesse.
I was supposed to crash the boards, and I just went up strong and made it, Azia Bishop said simply enough.
And, not quite so simply, she and her Ohio teammates were suddenly celebrating a 62-60 victory Saturday in the 19th Nancy Rehm/Borders Wars Classic at Hutzell Athletic Center.
Bishop’s putback of Maleeka Kynard’s miss at the horn was the difference on a night when, for a half, winning seemed a distant hope for Ohio.
Ohio went scoreless for nearly the first six minutes as Indiana bolted to an 11-0 lead, made just 10 of 29 shots in the first half, and, with 46.4 seconds left before halftime, trailed 37-24.
But then Kaysie Brittenham from Lake High School banked in a three-pointer as the horn sounded, and Ohio was going in down 10. And suddenly feeling pretty good about things.
Oh, that was big time. Big time, Ohio coach Ken Brooks said. She banks it in. We told them not to give up on their shot, because it’ll go in. And then we had some good defensive intensity the first four or five minutes of the second half, and that kind of set the tone.
And back roared Ohio, outscoring Indiana 20-2 across the first 9:50 of the second half plus those final 46 seconds of the first, and a blowout became a seesaw struggle right to the end.
Kristin Klausing, a 5-foot-7 guard from Delphos Jefferson who led Ohio with 10 points, was key in igniting the Ohio surge. But Kynard, Stephanie Recker from Pandora-Gilboa, Ariel Gaston from Toledo Start, Brittenham and MacKenzie Heacock from Arlington Local also did their bit.
Bishop, meanwhile, a 6-foot-2 center from Start, was the game MVP, scoring eight points, taking seven rebounds and blocking or altering any number of shots by Indiana’s All-Stars.
And Indiana coach Dave Miller saw it all coming.
They missed some open looks the first half, so we talked about how they’re going to make shots, they’re going to make a run, so we just have to weather that, he said.
In the end, though, 6-of-29 shooting in the second half and 19 of 61 for the game doomed the Indiana girls, who got 14 points from South Side’s Brittany Johnson, 12 points and nine rebounds from Carroll’s Lindsay Schaefer, a dozen from Ciara Geiger of Carroll and 11 from Bishop Luers’ Brierra Young.
Johnson’s free throws with 18.1 seconds remaining tied the game for the third and final time in the last 4:21.
Ohio ran a clear-out for Kynard, a 5-foot-7 guard who’s headed to Ohio State.
She drove left, hoisted the shot, watched it fail to drop and then there came Bishop.
I was on the opposite side and right when she was going up, I slipped to the other side, Bishop said. And it just came right to me, and I just put it back up.
Simple as that.