LAKEVILLE — Haley Collings had already had a couple nice outings leading into Saturday night’s girls championship game at the Bi-County Tournament.
The Oregon-Davis junior saved her best performance for last, though.
Collings put up a game-high 25 points on nearly perfect 11-for-12 shooting from the floor, and she notched another game-high 13 rebounds as the Class A No. 2 Lady Bobcats earned a repeat championship over Class A No. 10 Triton by a lopsided 80-36 margin at the 48th Annual Teachers Credit Union tilt at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
“We’re able to get a girl like Haley Collings… to get out and she runs the floor as good as anybody we have on the floor,” said OD head coach Terry Minix. “Four strides, and she’s down the floor. She’s long-legged, and when you get the steal you can just throw it in her direction, and she’s going to catch and tonight she was able to finish.”
“It’s a little better. The other night I missed a ton of layups,” said Collings humbly.
“It feels really good, but I couldn’t do it without them. I’m happy to have a good team.”
Collings’ assessment of her team seemed like a pretty big understatement in the wake of its convincing rout of another state-ranked foe Saturday night.
Attacking point guard Ashley Campbell finished with 22 points, Jessica Avarone put up another double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to go with stat sheet-stuffing tallies of seven assists and four steals — a feat equalled by Collings — while fellow junior Alicia McIntosh scored 10 points with five assists as the Lady Cats put the outcome beyond doubt early.
OD used its signature high pressure defense to fluster the Lady Trojans early, opening the game with 10 unanswered points while running out to a 28-15 lead at the first quarter break.
Triton cut the lead back to 10 with a 10-7 second quarter-opening spurt capped off by a Kylie Mason triple from the wing, but the Lady Trojans couldn’t cut into their deficit any further as OD ran out the half 15-2 to push its advantage to a 50-27 halftime cushion.
It was a disappointing showing for Triton, which played its Sectional 51 rival evenly in a 31-29 first half in an eventual 10-point loss on the Trojans’ home floor in Bourbon Jan. 2.
“Every time we play Triton we’re, like, super pumped in the locker room. We do our normal routine and get pumped up,” said Collings of the championship match-up.
“We didn’t want them to think that they could play with us. We wanted to push it tonight and not give them any opportunities for the sectional.”
“I don’t think it’s a psychological thing, I just don’t think we were ready,” said Triton head coach Adam Heckaman. “We didn’t play that well against LaVille on Thursday night, we came out tonight a little slow, didn’t get off to a good start. We were able to chip it back down to 10 points, a couple of stupid things from there and it just snowballs.”
“The important thing tonight was when we were struggling to hit shots we let it affect our defense, and it obviously snowballed,” the Lady Trojans boss continued. “All the credit to OD, they really played a great game, and we just weren’t ready to compete with them.”
Saturday’s championship was a repeat for the Lady Cats, who avenged a loss to 2011 champion Culver last year to reclaim the tourney title after the Cavs interrupted a string of four straight OD championships. That makes Saturday’s title the sixth in seven years for OD after the program went without a championship for the first 30 years of the girls tourney, which began in 1977.
With sectional draws just around the corner next Sunday, it was the state tournament that was on Minix’s mind Saturday, though.
“We’ve been pretty successful over here. I don’t know about success because only having one state championship, this isn’t Fort Wayne Canterbury. That’s what we call success,” said the OD skipper. “Winning Bi-County, it’s a great tournament, they do a great job. We really enjoy playing in it and really enjoy winning it, but it’s all about the tournament time.”
Along with its second straight Bi-County crown, Saturday’s win also represented the seventh straight for OD after suffering back-to-back losses at the Texas Roadhouse Holiday Classic at South Bend Washington Dec. 27-28.
Since those losses — just the second and third of the year for the Cats — Collings has supplied her team with a formidable X factor behind Campbell, Avarone and McIntosh, and she’s scored in double figures in each of her team’s last seven wins, along with giving the often-undersized Cats a lift in the battle of the boards.
“In the last four or five games since she’s played up in the holiday tourney at South Bend Washington she has played unbelievable,” Minix said. “It makes us a different team because we have the big three with Alicia, Ashley and Jesse, everybody can key on them three, and now when you’ve got a girl like Haley Collings who can get every rebound in sight and is not afraid to finish anymore.”
Triton slid to 13-5 on the season with its first loss since hosting OD three weeks ago.
The Trojans were led by junior Mallorie Jennings’ nine points with four rebounds, while Taylor Hatfield also finished with nine, and Mason tallied six.
“Mallorie Jennings played one of her better games Thursday night, she played one of her best games tonight; she was ready to play,” said Heckaman. “Breanna Lemler, Krystal Sellers, we’ve got kids that bust their butts no matter what. Mallorie, she’s done her job the last couple games. Everybody else has just got to step up a little bit around that and look ahead to the next weeks to come. Hopefully it’ll resonate with the girls for awhile what OD just did to them, so they understand they’ve got to work a little bit harder. Otherwise if we’re fortunate enough to play them in sectional, that could happen again.”
• OREGON-DAVIS 80,
Score by quarters
OD: 28 50 63 80
Triton: 15 27 32 36
OD (80): Haley Collings 25, Ashley Campbell 22, Jessica Avarone 14, Alicia McIntosh 10, Lexi Minix 5, Taylor Kranenburg 2, Kendra Sauer 2, Riley Trott 0, Ashley Clark 0, Zoe Seese 0, Lincy Jones 0, Katie Marsh 0; Totals: 31 12-22 80.
TRITON (36): Mallorie Jennings 9, Taylor Hatfield 9, Kylie Mason 8, Shana Anderson 5, Breanna Lemler 0, Krystal Sellers 5, Allie Kann 0, Hannah Jennings 0; Totals: 15 1-2 36.
3-pointers: OD 6 (McIntosh 2, Avarone 2, Cambell, Minix), Triton 5 (Mason 2, Sellers, Jennings, Anderson); Rebounds: OD 44 (Collings 13, Avarone 11), Triton 23 (M. Jennings 4); Turnovers: OD 7, Triton 17; Steals: OD 9 (Avarone 4, Collings 4), Triton 4 (Mason 2); Assists: OD 19 (Avarone 7, McIntosh 5), Triton 7 (Lemler 3); Fouls: OD 9, Triton 15.
Records: Oregon-Davis 16-3, Triton 13-5.