OLD FORT - January has been a tough month for basketball teams. Between holiday breaks, polar vortexes and enough snow to make an Eskimo feel at home, it's been tough for teams to get in a rhythm.
According to Old Fort coach, Jennifer Miller, it's been a little more than tough.
"No it's been terrible," she said. "I'm texting my AD begging him, 'Let's just tough out the snow, come on.' I'd be willing to drive them.
Old Fort’s Peyton Miller shoots a 3-pointer during Tuesday’s game against?Danbury.
"It's tough when you're just out of a routine. Especially when they've been at home. Then you have those three days where you're not allowed to do anything because the state of Ohio says no one can be on the roads. It's been tough, but it's good to see them battle out of that and get back with it."
Tuesday the routine was again thrown out of the window with the day of school called off, but it didn't have too much of an effect on the floor for the Stockaders. Old Fort built an early lead and carried it the nearly the entire night for a 57-42 victory over Danbury.
A pair of freshmen led the way Tuesday for Old Fort (11-3). Alli Adelsperger had a game-high 19 points and Peyton Miller added 15. Miller scored eight in the second quarter including a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to halt a Danbury run, and send her team into the break with a 28-17 lead.
"Offensively, we've been down a little bit over break. It's hard with all that break time, not being at school, out of routine. It was good to see them come out, and I tell them all the time, 'I don't care how many times you miss, just keep shooting the ball.'"
According to Adelsperger, that's what they did.
"I thought we played really good tonight, worked as a team," she said. "We started to take more shots than usual. We started driving more into the gaps to score.
"With us moving the ball around, we created a lot of open shots. We just kept passing until we got a shot."
It wasn't just a lack of routine that Old Fort had to fight through, but also a physical Danbury team. It's a style that Miller said her team hasn't fared well against this year.
"It was a very, very physical game, but I'm glad to see we played through it," she said. "We've struggled with some physical teams earlier like Arcadia and Genoa, and we didn't land on the upside. But it's good too see our players be physical back and work through that."
On the opposite bench, Danbury had to work through Old Fort's pressure defense and its quickness. And according to coach Joe Fetzer, the Lakers didn't have as much success working against it.
"They're real quick. They're so quick, they can overplay and recover," he said. "They play a lot of kids. Our kids got a little tired physically and that led to some mental tiredness, but they're good. They're quick, they're aggressive, they're smart. They're a nice team."
"Our press was working really good tonight," Adelsperger said. "We were trapping and getting steals from it."
Old Fort forced Danbury (7-8) into 11 first-quarter turnovers, helping lead to 11 unanswered Stockader points and a 12-3 lead at the first stop.
"Old Fort is a very good team and well-coached, and they play very hard," Fetzer said. "I thought our kids met that challenge. We had a little bit of a breakdown in the end of the first quarter, into the second quarter, right around there. There was maybe a four minute span where they got out to a 10-, 11-point lead and we were never able to get it down. We kind of kept it around there. They get up to 18, we get it down to 12. But that was very important and we kind of checked out mentally at that time. There pressure, they do a nice job with it."
Adelsperger scored eight more in the third as Old Fort worked its lead to 21 late in the quarter. Sammy Miller also added seven on the night.
Coach Miller said she's pleased with how her team is adjusting to playing against various styles of teams.
"That's the great thing," she said. "I think we've seen a of of different teams. We had to play against a lot of different defenses. Physical teams, not physical teams. And I think they're adjusting well."