MARION, Ohio -- Tonight’s game featured the top two teams in the MOAC in Shelby and Marion Harding. Shelby took the league title in 2019-2020 but was challenged by Harding in each of their meetings. This matchup was no different, coming down to the final seconds of the game.
Heading into this game, Shelby was coming off of a two week quarantine due to COVID-19. Both teams played well in the first half, consistently trading leads. After a back and forth first three quarters, Harding took the lead 36-32 heading into the fourth on the back of the talented Ariyah Douglas.
Harding held Shelby scoreless for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter and then Shelby lit on fire. Using some pressure defense, they caused several turnovers and eventually tied the game at 38 with less than a minute to go.
The Presidents were able to hold the ball to run off some time before Douglas attacked the basket and dished to Keyani Jackson for three. Shelby was able to inbound the ball, call timeout and get one last look at tying the game. Sophie Niese put up a three and sank it but time had already expired.
With the 41-38 win, Harding moved into first place in the MOAC, a position occupied by Shelby for the last two seasons. This was the first loss for the Lady Whippets since joining the league in the 2018-19 season.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s top performers.
Ariyah Douglas (G / Marion Harding / 2021) - This is the third time we have seen Douglas this season and each time, she impresses us more. She controlled all aspects of the game for Harding, especially in the second half. She was face guarded most of the game but still managed to create her own shots and get teammates involved. She is one of the most talented guards in Central Ohio.
Olivia Baker (G / Shelby / 2022) - Baker had the hot hand for the Whippets in the first half, shooting 3-4 from three. She has deep range and a quick release. She finishes well at the rim and dumps the ball off well when double teamed. The junior struggled to score and only attempted a handful of shots in the second half as she was face guarded by Douglas. If she can improve her ability to create shots on her own, her stock will continue to rise.
Sophie Niese (G / Shelby / 2021) - Niese was the most consistent player on the floor for the Whippets. Despite being quarantined the last few weeks, in her first game back she maintained defensive intensity the entire game and was a pain for the Presidents. Her offensive efforts attacking the basket in the fourth quarter forced a tie heading into the last thirty seconds. Niese does it all for Shelby tallying 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Nicole Flock (G / Marion Harding / 2021) - Flock was fun to watch for the Presidents. She is one of the defensive leaders on the team, constantly pressuring the ball. Most of her impact came in transition and attacking the basket. She is quick on her feet and plays whatever role she needs to.