LAGRANGE — Keystone got the opponent they wanted in its holiday tournament final, just not the result it had hoped for. Olmsted Falls routed the Wildcats
61-34 to take the rotating tournament for the second consecutive year. Keystone, which fell to 8-4, also lost to the Bulldogs in last year’s championship game.
“We look forward to playing quality teams like Olmsted Falls,” said Keystone coach Scott Terry. “We knew going in that we were going to have to take care of the basketball against their pressure defense. Not just full court pressure but in the half court as well.
“We didn’t make the right decisions with the basketball. It’s one thing to turn the ball over, it’s another to turn it over and then give up a layup at the other end. We made a lot of mistakes as far as decision making went, and it cost us points just about every time.”
Both teams struggled from the field in the opening quarter. Keystone, which jumped to a 5-0 lead, hit just three of its 12 shots from the field. Olmsted Falls wasn’t much better, as the Bulldogs connected on three of their 11 attempts.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their struggles continued, while the Bulldogs started to find their mark.
Keystone went ahead 10-8 following a Taylor Bell basket with 5:30 left in the second quarter before things started to head in the wrong direction for the ’Cats. Olmsted Falls tied the score at 10 on an Ashley Hodge basket that started a 13-0 run. Although Hodge started the streak, it was Alexis Henton that defined it.
Henton scored seven of the 13 points on a combination of different shots that showed her speed and athleticism. A baseline drive, a steal capped by a layup and a 3-pointer helped send Olmsted Falls into the intermission with a 21-10 lead.
“Henton is a tremendous basketball player,” Terry said. “She is one of those double-threat players. She attacks very well, and if you back off of her, she is going to shoot the three. If you go out after her, she is going to speed toward the basket.
“She has all the weapons and she hurt us tonight.”
Keystone shot better in the second half but had a difficult time denting the Bulldog lead. The Wildcats hit six of their eight shots from the field in the third quarter but still got out-scored 16-14. Doing the damage was Henton’s teammate Julie Radigan. The 5-foot-11 forward dominated the paint, going 4-for-4 from the field for eight points in the quarter.
Keystone trailed 37-24 before making a move to enter the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Kimberly Kokosi and a basket by Taylor Kessinger cut the deficit to 37-29 with 6:19 to play. And that’s when Henton took control for the second time.
Henton had a pair of three-point plays and a pair of 3-pointers to help the Bulldogs on a 22-0 run that staved off the Keystone charge and secured the victory.
Henton, who averages 17 points, finished with a game-high 30.
“I didn’t realize (Henton) had that many points,” said Olmsted Falls coach Matt Fulton. “She was our point guard last year and this season we moved her to shooting guard. It’s made her a much better basketball player and us a much better basketball team.
“Keystone got it down to eight points and Alexis took control. She’s an outstanding player who just constantly hustles on both ends of the floor.”
Neilsen led Keystone with nine points while Kokoski and Bell finished with eight and seven points, respectively.
OLMSTED FALLS (61): Alexis Henton 10-6-30, Julie Radigan 7-0-14, Rachel Rossman 3-0-6, Ashley Hodge 2-0-4, Haley Mueller 1-1-3, Nicole Cantrell 1-0-2, Cassie Clancy 1-0-2. Totals: 25-7-61
KEYSTONE (34): Rebecca Neilsen 3-1-9, Kimberly Kokoski 2-2-8, Taylor Bell 3-0-7, Erin Gallagher 2-0-4, Taylor Kessinger 2-0-4, Casidy Gregory 1-0-2. Totals: 13-3-34.
Olmsted Falls 7 14 16 24 — 61
Keystone 7 3 14 10 — 34
Three-point goals: Olmsted Falls 4 (Henton 4), Keystone 5 (Kokoski 2, Neilsen 2, Bell). Field goals: Olmsted Falls 25 of 48 (52 percent), Keystone 13 of 38 (34 percent). Free throws: Olmsted Falls 7 of 10 (70 percent), Keystone 3 of 4 (75 percent). Rebounds: Olmsted Falls 21 (Radigan 9), Keystone 25 (Neilsen 6, Gallagher 6). Turnovers: Olmsted Falls 7, Keystone 20. Total fouls: Olmsted Falls 9, Keystone 9. Technical fouls: None.
Fouled out: None.