GAHANNA, Ohio -- The Dublin Coffman Shamrocks and Gahanna Lincoln Lions faced off in a non-conference matchup in their first games of the 2020-21 season.
It was a tale of two halves tonight in Gahanna. In the first, the Lions’ ferocious defense was too much for Coffman to handle, likely due to Coffman’s inability to practice 5 on 5 for the last three weeks. Despite a large number of turnovers, the Rocks were able to keep the score close, heading into halftime down 29-26.
In the second half, Coffman handled the pressure with poise and started knocking down some shots from outside. Bella Ward single handedly kept Gahanna Lincoln in the game as both teams continued to trade baskets through the entire second half.
The Rocks were able to seal the game with free throws and avenge their tournament losses from the last two seasons with a 67-62 win.
The Rocks were led by sophomore duo Tessa Grady and Jenny Kopyar with 19 and 18, respectively. Ward dropped 30 in the loss for the Lions.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s top performers.
Bella Ward (6'0 F/ Gahanna Lincoln / 2022) - Ward was the best player in the gym tonight. The Butler commit is aggressive and has a great motor. She attacks the basket with purpose and consistently finishes through contact. Ward handles the ball with confidence and plays all five positions well. We were impressed with her pull up mid-range jumper, as she knocked in a couple to diversify her scoring. She will be one of the best players in the OCC this season amongst a tough junior class.
Tessa Grady (6'1 F / Dublin Coffman / 2023) - Grady struggled in the first half but settled in and came alive in the second. She knocked down a couple of outside shots and attacked the basket well. Her length gives her an advantage against smaller defenders but her ball handling and shooting abilities make her even more versatile. We liked the way Grady attacked the basket and finished creatively at the rim. She comes from a very athletic family, which only means great things for her going forward. Just a sophomore, Grady’s stock will rise over the coming years.
Jenna Kopyar (5'10 G / Dublin Coffman / 2023) - Kopyar is the primary ball handler for the Rocks and handles the duties well. She is a good decision maker and dishes the ball well and when appropriate. After a slow start in the first half, she bounced back and shot well from three in the second. Like Grady, her stock will rise the more time she spends on the floor. The 5-foot-10 sophomore has a very explosive handle and can really get places off the dribble, as she was extremely hard to contain in the second half.
Laila Marshall (5'9 G / Gahanna / 2023) - Marshall was one of Gahanna's key players on Friday. She was very aggressive attacking the basket in the first half and played a major role on the boards and on defense. When she picked up her fourth foul in the second half, the game seemed to shift in Coffman's favor, as the Lions were never able to recover from the run the Rocks made in the third quarter. Look for Marshall to become the top secondary scoring option outside of Ward for this Gahanna team.
Kenzie Bicking (5'8 G / Dublin Coffman / 2021) - Bicking was a bright light for Coffman who struggled in the first half. She knocked down a couple of three pointers and made sound decisions with the ball. When things seemed to get out of control, Bicking was the one who calmed the Rocks down. The senior has a quick trigger on her jumper and is an experienced veteran in the backcourt who plays with great poise. She is a great tenured leader for this team.