Ohio freshman guard Cierra Hooks (#1) goes in for a shot during the second half of the Bobcats’ win over Notre Dame College on Nov. 16, 2017.
With under five seconds left in the game, freshman guard Cierra Hooks stole the ball off Marshall’s inbound pass.
The Bobcats’ defense at the end of game was what helped them overcome a slew of challenges. Hooks scored the game-winning layup after stealing the ball, and the Bobcats defeated the Thundering Herd 54-52 to pick up a third straight win to begin the season.
As the clock ticked in the middle of the fourth quarter, Ohio was in a bad spot. It was down 50-42 with 5:31 left, and players were struggling to make shots. At that point, Ohio had only scored five points in the quarter.
“Things were pretty bleak for us in that second half,” coach Bob Boldon said. “Our shooting surely went cold.”
Ohio didn’t have the best of shooting performances — it shot 29.4 percent from the field and 17.1 percent from three. On top of that, Amani Burke, one of the Bobcats’ best players, fouled out near the beginning of the fourth quarter. Burke finished the game with six points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field.
But as the clock ticked, the Bobcats did what they did so well at the beginning of the game —
The Bobcats forced the Thundering Herd to commit nine turnovers in the last 5:31, which enabled Ohio to go on a 9-0 run to end the game. Hooks scored two layups with just under a minute left, which brought Ohio within two. Doseck got a steal with 22 seconds left, and she was fouled. She missed two free throws, but then she got the rebound and was fouled again.
Doseck made her free throws after being fouled the second time, tying the game at 52.
“There was a loose ball and she got in there, and I thought she probably should’ve kicked it out,” Boldon said. “But she thought she should’ve shot it, and thank goodness she thought she should shoot it.”
With Burke fouled out, Ohio needed contributions from the rest of its team. The Bobcats responded, and that’s something Boldon was glad to see.
The Bobcats are a young team – guard Taylor Agler is the lone senior. Through three games, Hooks, Gabby Burris and Alexis Stover – the three freshmen who have received minutes – have carried their own weight.
In this game, the Bobcats showed an ability to prosper amid adversity, despite their youth.
“This is a great win for us,” Boldon said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs along the way. And learning to cope with those is a challenge.”
Defense helped Ohio at the end, but the shooting woes is not something to ignore. Through three games, the Bobcats have shot an average of 35.9 percent from the field and 23.6 percent from three.
Simply put, Ohio needs to shoot better as it progresses through non-conference play and onward. Ohio (3-0) will play No. 25 Michigan (2-1) at home Saturday.
“They gotta either learn how to make threes or stop shooting them,” Boldon said. “Plenty to work on, plenty to work on.”