Oak Hall girls earn state playoff berth

Oak Hall's Ebony Cox looks to drive to the basket against Emily Herrington of St. Francis during the semifinals of the District 3-3A district tournament at Oak Hall School, in Gainesville, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The Eagles beat the Wolves 62-28.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.

A second quarter that showed depth followed by a dominant third quarter got the Oak Hall Eagles girls basketball squad a date in Friday's District 3-3A championship game.

Host Oak Hall (17-7) knocked off St. Francis 62-28 Tuesday in the district's second semifinal game. It was the Eagles' seventh consecutive win and their third over the Wolves this season, and it guarantees the Eagles a state playoff berth for the third time in four years.

After jumping out to a 20-11 first-quarter lead, seven Eagles scored in the second quarter. By doubling the Wolves output in the quarter, 18-9, Oak Hall went into the locker room with a 38-20 lead. Ten of the team's 38 points first-half points came from Madison O'Leary.

“She loves to distribute the ball,” Oak Hall coach Eric Ringdahl said of O'Leary. “But we have gotten her to take the ball to the hole strong. It has taken us all year long to do it. When she does, you see what happens.”

Ringdahl wasn't happy with the first half though with St. Francis (6-14) still in striking distance.

“We started slow in the beginning,” said O'Leary. “Coach talked us up at halftime. He told us that we needed to play stronger in the second half.”

It started with the Eagles point guard Ashley Cohrs.

“She was pushing too hard in the second quarter,” said Ringdahl. “I told her in the third quarter to just relax.”

Cohrs and the rest of the Eagles responded. The junior knocked down two 3-pointers, and Oak Hall delivered the knockout punch, outscoring St. Francis 20-2 in the decisive third quarter.

O'Leary led all scorers with 16 points while Cohrs had 11. Freshman Emily Herrington led St. Francis with 10 points while Ann Lorrayne Bzoch chipped in seven.

St. Francis sorely missed senior Katrina Lagos, the Wolves' leading scorer and rebounder, who was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Oak Hall will face P.K. Yonge in the championship game 7 p.m. Friday night. P.K. Yonge knocked off St. Joseph's 60-15 in the other district semifinal game Tuesday. The Blue Wave were led by Brooksie McGraw with 12 points and Courtney Dollison with 10.

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