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Upper overcomes turnovers to snap losing streak

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Charge denied
Upper Sandusky’s Zandria Gallant drives to the basket past Bucyrus defender Marissa Middleton, who attempted to take a charge. Gallant had six points in Upper Sandusky’s 55-38 victory on Friday.
Daily Chief-Union/Brian Hemminger

By BRIAN HEMMINGER

City editor

It wasn’t pretty, but the Upper Sandusky girls basketball team back in the win column after a three-game losing streak.

The Rams overcame 31 turnovers to defeat Northern 10 Athletic Conference foe Bucyrus 55-38 Friday night at Upper Sandusky.

“Having 31 turnovers is just unbelievable,” Upper Sandusky coach Jerry Vent said. “We should be more in the 14, 15, 16 range. That’s 14, 15, 16 more possessions. We shot the ball OK tonight. If we score 50% of those, that’s another 15 points, but we didn’t because we turned the ball over 31 times and we’ve got to fix that.”

Both teams struggled to take care of the ball in the first half, combining for 39 turnovers at the break.

Early on, the Rams (10-7, 6-5 N10) were able to jump out to a 13-6 lead, but after Grace Vent hit a 3-pointer to put Upper Sandusky up 16-8, Bucyrus (2-13, 0-11 N10) responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead at 17-16.

Put it on the board
Upper Sandusky’s Addy Newman (2) puts up a shot on a fast break Friday against Bucyrus. Newman tied three other players for the team lead with eight points as the Rams overcame some turnover issues to defeat Bucyrus 55-38.
Daily Chief-Union/Brian Hemminger

“We had some good spurts, but we can’t put it together solid for four whole quarters,” Bucyrus coach Brian Seybert said. “I think we’re putting it together and improving. They play as hard as they can, giving it everything they got. We had girls on the floor all night hustling their tails off.”

After an Upper Sandusky timeout, the Rams closed the half on a huge 12-0 run thanks to a pair of three-point plays by freshmen Grace Walton and Leah Kinley, as well as transition layups by Addy Newman, Zandria Gallant and a jumper in the final 10 seconds of the half by Jenna Kurtz to give Upper Sandusky a 28-17 halftime lead.

“We’ve been trying to focus on transition because we haven’t been getting anything easy,” coach Vent said. “I thought we did a good job getting fast break opportunities off the press and got into transition well, but their half court defense was tough. When we took care of the ball, that’s when we made our runs.”

Upper Sandusky struggled mightily in its half court offense in the first half, often driving to the basket but either going too deep, or losing the handle on the ball thanks to some aggressive Bucyrus defenders. 

“Our man defense is getting better,” Seybert said. “We’re trying to get away from the 2-3 zone a little bit if we can. We really tried hard to force them into contested shots and I thought that was impressive throughout. It was more the runout layups that hurt us bad.”

Bucyrus opened the second half on a 4-0 run and was chipping away at Upper Sandusky’s lead midway through the third quarter when Upper Sandusky got a huge spark off the bench from an unexpected source.

Senior Madison Byrum drilled a 3-pointer from the wing, then one possession later she scored a layup. Less than a minute later, Byrum drilled another 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Rams up 38-23.

“I was excited to go in and give our team a little boost that we needed,” Byrum said. “I was definitely excited and joyful for the opportunity to go in and help our team out and do that. I was just glad to stay in and help my teammates out because that’s what we needed at that moment.” 

Byrum finished tied for the team lead with eight points alongside Kurtz, Newman and Walton.

“That’s credit to Madison as a person honestly,” coach Vent said. “She was someone who started for us last year but is coming off the bench for us this year with some of our rotations we have now, and that’s just being ready to play the game, being a senior knowing, ‘Hey, when my number’s called, I’m gonna give it my best effort.’ 

“Absolutely she gave us a spark tonight. She saw the ball go in hoop and she got some big rebounds for us too. When the ball goes in, you tend to pick up the intensity a bit on both ends of the floor. Big credit to her. She’s a huge character person, so I’m not surprised she was there to pick us up when we needed her to.”

Upper Sandusky took a 42-25 lead into the fourth quarter, eventually stretching the lead to 20 points before subbing in junior varsity players in the final three minutes. 

“Coming off three losses, we did what we needed to do to get out of here with a win,” Vent said. “We played a little better in the second half. Hopefully this will get us back in rhythm and on the right track. We’ve had a rough couple weeks here and we’ve got a couple big ones next week.

Bucyrus was led by Madalyn Kimmel’s 17 points. Emma Tyrrell also had 14 points for the Redmen.

In two quarters of junior varsity play, Upper Sandusky won 24-12. Erin Merriman led the Rams with eight points.

Next up, Upper Sandusky travels to Kenton at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

BUCYRUS (2-13, 0-11 N10): Kimmel 6-5-17, Tyrrell 7-0-14, Ricker 1-0-2, Middleton 1-0-2, Ke. Blizzard 1-0-2, Rister 0-1-1. Totals 16 6-8 38.

UPPER SANDUSKY (10-7, 6-5 N10): Byrum 3-0-8, Kurtz 4-0-8, Newman 3-2-8, Walton 3-1-8, Gallant 3-0-6, Kinley 2-1-5, Stowers 2-1-5, Vent 2-0-5, Ham 1-0-2. Totals 23 5-10 55.

3-point goals: Byrum 2, Vent, Walton.

Score by quarters

Bucyrus                  6                11              8                13              — 38

Upper Sandusky     13              15              14              13              — 55

Junior varsity: Upper Sandusky won 24-12 (one half).


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