By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Ada, OH---The No. 9 Express women's basketball team survived a battle on the road to defeat Ohio Northern University's JV team 61-55 Monday night.
With Owens down three with 4:12 remaining, Aja Hall (Fostoria/Fostoria, OH) came through with five points to help give her team a two point lead. Then, with the Express up two, ONU had the ball out of bounds with 30 seconds left. However, a driving lay-up attempt was swatted by Uniqua Mitchell (MLK/Detroit, MI) and the ball went out of bounds off ONU.
The Express inbounded the ball and Hall found Emma-Jean Ricketts (Anthony Wayne/Waterville, OH) for a lay-in to secure a four point lead. Mackenzie Heacock (Arlington/Arlington, OH) hit two free throws in the final seconds to secure the six point margin.
Hall led the way with 17 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and one assist. With her 17 points tonight, she now has 857 career points, which allows her to pass Stephanie Galant of Lake HS (856 points) for seventh place on the career scoring list. Next up is Niccole Brown of Toledo Central Catholic HS at 885 career points.
Mitchell was just behind Hall in points as she finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block. Ricketts struggled offensively in the first half, but finished with eight points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one block. Kieona Foster (Shawnee/Lima, OH) added eight points, seven rebounds, five assists, three blocks and one steal for the Express.
Hailey Galvan (Archbold/Archbold, OH) led the Express in blocks with five. With tonight's game, she surpassed the century mark in blocks this year and now has 102 in 18 games – matching her total from all of last season.
ONU out-performed Owens on the boards by a 53-48 margin, including a 23-15 advantage on the offensive glass. ONU also had more assists (17-15), less turnovers (18-20), more steals (11-9), more second chance points (13-6) and more bench points (18-14).
Meanwhile, the Express had more blocks (12-3), points in the paint (32-26) and points off turnovers (14-9). The game saw seven ties and 11 lead changes.
The Express trailed 28-26 at the half before outscoring ONU 35-27 in the second half. The six point winning margin for the Express was their largest lead of the game, while ONU led by 10 at 16-6 with 11:32 remaining in the first half.
Owens finished 22-for-61 overall from the field, 5-for-18 from three point range and 12-for-22 from the foul line. ONU finished 21-for-78 from the field overall, 5-for-31 from three point range and 8-for-12 from the foul line.
After a first half field goal percentage of 29.4, the Express picked it up and shot 12-for-27 (44.4 percent) in the second half, while ONU fell from 29.7 percent in the first half to 24.4 percent in the second half.
ONU, who brought four players from their varsity team into the matchup, was led by Jordan Kimes, who had 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Lauren VonStein added 10 rebounds.
Owens moves to 19-4 overall and 4-1 in the OCCAC. They will take on Edison State Community College on Wednesday in the SHAC at 5:30 p.m.