Oakville girls hold on to defeat Mehlville 33-31

By Robert Chalupny

Winning the defensive game was a big part of the plan for the Oakville Senior High School varsity girls’ basketball team as the Tigers squeaked by Mehlville 33-31 last week to secure their first win of the season in as many tries.

The Tigers completely shut down Mehlville’s offense in the first quarter, outscoring them 13-0, but Mehlville worked itself right back into the game. Both teams were neck and neck for the next two quarters, with Mehlville outscoring the Tigers in the fourth quarter 17-8.

But the Tigers held on and head coach Aaron Bosch told the Call he was pleased with the balanced game they played to get the win, citing defense as the key factor.

“We spent a lot of time early on, the first five or six weeks of practice really focusing on defense,” he said. “I thought that last year’s group, that was kind of our letdown last year, our defensive side of the game. So they came out and shut down Mehlville’s offense in the first quarter.

“… Our defense was really good for the first three quarters, and we came out well on offense. too — (Alyssa) Norberg and (Favor) Oparaji both. They scored all 13 of our points in the first quarter,” Bosch continued. “They buckled down at the end and they won it defensively, which is what we’ve been talking about so far in our practices.They really bought into playing (a) hard-nosed man defense, which is good for us.”

Heading into the first game of the year on Dec. 12, the Tigers knew they they were facing an uphill battle this season as they have a lot of rebuilding to do with some big offensive shoes to fill.

Bosch said the win was a good confidence builder for the team.

“I think it was really important especially with the goofy schedule that we had here early on,” he said. “That was the the first game we played all year and that was Mehlville’s fourth game … You know how first-game jitters are, so I thought it was important.

“I stressed to the girls how important that first quarter was and to get off to a good start and to build some confidence. So we had a really good first quarter, and then we pulled off the win in the end. So it was good to get that first one under our belt.”

The game plan for the Tigers moving forward is to maintain their defensive game and make strides on offense.

“We are going to look to try to work on the offense a little more to get more confidence on the offensive side of the ball, (and) try to get some more points on the board. So I think we are going to focus on offense a little bit more,” Bosch said.

“Like I said, we spent the first six weeks or so focusing on the defense, so we kind of are lacking on the offensive side … The skill is there in the end. We just (need) to put a little more work into it in practice.”

On Monday, the Tigers fell to Holt 37-19, and are now 1-1 on the season. They now will face an opponent to be determined Friday, Dec. 27, in the MICDS Holiday Invitational Tournament.