COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The last time Marion Harding and Shelby met, it was Marion Harding who was celebrating as they snapped the Whippets two year undefeated streak in the MOAC. This time around, the Whippets controlled the tempo for nearly the entire game en route to a 55-44 win, avenging that early season loss.
Marion Harding jumped out to a 5-2 lead to start the first before junior Olivia Baker started heating up for Shelby. She scored seven consecutive points to give the Whippets a momentary lead. Thanks to their efforts on the offensive boards, Marion Harding went into the second quarter with a 14-13 lead.
In the second, Baker continued to be a major offensive factor for the Whippets, scoring five in the quarter. Marion Harding struggled to score due to Shelby’s pressure defense and were held to nine points.
A key to Shelby’s success was holding Marion Harding senior guard Ariyah Douglas scoreless in the second and third quarters. With so much attention on Douglas, junior Justice Steinman-Ross stepped up to the plate for Harding and answered the call. She single handedly kept the Presidents in the game in the third, scoring eight of their 11 points.
This effort would not be enough to overcome the offensive firepower of the junior trio of Haylee Baker, Olivia Baker and Sophie Niese who combined for fourteen in the third for Shelby. This helped to extend their lead to seven points with one quarter to play.
In the fourth, Shelby held the Presidents to just nine points, and extended their lead to ten. The Presidents had multiple chances to cut into the lead but shot just one for eight from the free throw line in the quarter. The Whippets were led in scoring by Olivia Baker with 20 and Haylee Baker with 16. Steinman-Ross tallied 15 in the loss for the Presidents.
Olivia Baker (5’8 G / Shelby / 2022) - Baker is proving to be one of the best three point shooters in the area. On top of that, she is starting to attack the basket and finish strong through contact in a variety of ways when the long ball isn't available. Her ability to create her own shot in a one on one situation is increasing which is causing her stock to rise. Baker, who holds one Division II offer, looks to wrap up her junior year with a third straight conference championship and a long tournament run.
Haylee Baker (5’8 G / Shelby / 2022) - Baker’s athleticism and high motor should put her on everyone’s map. Over the course of the season, she has increased her range and is shooting consistently from three. She can score from all levels but is most effective in the open court where she utilizes her speed to blow by defenders. She is an elite perimeter defender and doesn't back down from guarding a larger forward. Baker’s defensive leadership will be a massive piece of the tournament puzzle for Shelby.
Justice Steinman-Ross (F / Marion Harding / 2022) - Steinman-Ross has improved dramatically since the beginning of the season. The long, athletic junior is a force to be reckoned with in the paint. She finishes strong on both sides of the basket and is constantly fighting for position where her improved footwork can be noticed.. She is a terror on the boards and impacts nearly every play. Steinman-Ross is a huge part of the equation for a Harding team looking to make a name for themselves in the Central District tournament.