By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
URBANA — After Friday’s disappointing overtime loss to Olentangy, Miami East girls basketball coach Bruce Vanover said his Vikings needed to shoot better and commit fewer turnovers.
Done and done.
Morgan Haney poured in a game-high 33 points, Miami East only turned the ball over five times in the game — 23 fewer than the previous night — and the Vikings bounced back in the consolation final of the Skeeter Classic tournament Saturday at Urbana High School, routing the host Hillclimbers 74-25.
Miami East (1-1) — which won the Skeeter Classic last year — committed 28 turnovers in Friday’s 44-40 overtime loss to Olentangy. But Saturday, the Vikings committed only one turnover in the first half, including zero in the second quarter, and only five on the night.
“Definitely, a lot more (pleased),” Vanover said when asked his mood in relation to Friday’s game. “We definitely played better with the ball, taking care of it tonight. But I said yesterday, you’ve got to give credit to Olentangy for causing those turnovers. I still think that’s uncharacteristic for us to do that on most nights.”
“Even Cam Miller, she may play the post, but she’s a solid ballhandler, as well. So even your post can bring the ball up the floor, and she’s a nice passer, too, so it gives us nice options when Cam, Morgan, Rori (Hunley) are running the floor. Then you add Paxton (Hunley), Maria (Staton) — I don’t want to discredit anybody on their ballhandling. Everyone seems to be able to handle the ball for us, and that makes us a threat anytime because any one of the girls can take the ball and attack.”
And on the other end, the Vikings forced 35 Urbana turnovers — 10 in both the first and second quarters to help build a 41-10 lead at the break. Miami East led 13-8 in the first quarter and then went on a 20-0 run to put the game away, then scored another 17 straight after that to go up 50-12 early in the third quarter thanks to countless easy fast-break baskets after steals.
“It’s different when you’re not rushed,” Vanover said. “I know we were about 40 percent (from the field) at halftime. Olentangy brought a lot of pressure, made us rush our shots a bit more, which affected our shooting. They were long, too, which caused us some problems. It makes a difference when you can catch and shoot — and it makes it a lot easier to make shots when you’re making transition layups. We had quite a few tonight, and we didn’t have very many last night. It definitely makes it easier to score.”
Haney certainly didn’t have any problem putting up points.
The senior point guard had 12 first-quarter points to help the Vikings go up 23-8 after one, and she had 18 by halftime. She scored her 33rd point after a steal and layup to begin the fourth quarter, and then she went into distribution mode, dishing out a series of assists to teammates as East put the game on ice.
Haney finished with 33 points, four rebounds and five assists on the night.
Staton added 10 points, Rori Hunley finished with nine and Miller had seven points, four rebounds and five assists to pace the Vikings.
Lauren Wright added six points, Whitley Gross had four points, Cadence Gross had three and Emily Adkins scored two. Even Paxton Hunley, the lone Viking not to score on the night, contributed to the offense with three assists.
“Morgan even passed up some shots at the end — she made the right pass each time, but she definitely could have had more if she finished those herself,” Vanover said. “And Cam, she’s a pretty nice shooter, too, and there were times when she was making passes where she could have taken them herself. It’s a very unselfish group. When they get the ball, their head is up and they’re trying to push the ball and look for the open person.”
Marissa Horn led Urbana (0-2) with six points, Maleah Murphy scored five points, Alaina Lyons and Samantha Rooney each had four, McKenzie King had two points and six rebounds, Shelby Stoops had two points and five rebounds and Marah Donahoe had two points as the Hillclimbers outrebounded Miami East 33-24 on the night.
Now the Vikings return home to open their league title defense, hosting Cross County Conference rival National Trail Thursday night in their home opener.
“We’ve got a lot of defending to do this year,” Vanover said. “We open up league play with National Trail, and hopefully we can go out and get off to a good start in our first league game.”
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.