Rohrbach, BW?roll against HU
It was an odd sight for anyone who remembered the dominant Columbian girls basketball teams of a few years ago.
But there it was, as Heidelberg and Baldwin Wallace set up to begin Wednesday night’s contest at Seiberling gymnasium.
As the referee held the ball for the tip off, HU’s Megan Miller was on one side; the Yellow Jackets’ Lexi Rohrbach on the other.
The two, who were teammates and classmates on the Tornadoes teams that had back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and won two district titles, now battled for the ball, and a win.
In each case, it was Rohrbach’s team that got what it wanted.
The junior won the opening tipoff, and Baldwin Wallace won the game, 72-62.
Rohrbach, who Heidelberg coach Marcie Alberts called “the most physical player in the league,” finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, the latter a team best.
“The last few game’s she’s been playing more aggressively and better, and rebounding much better,” said Baldwin Wallace coach Cheri Harrer.
Rohrbach went to the free throw line 17 times, making 11. BW went 42 times as a team, making 26.
“I just try and play my hardest every time I go out there,” Rohrbach said. “My dad always taught me to work as hard as I can and give 110 percent.”
Alberts said the free throw differential between the two teams (Heidelberg was 12 of 19) was crucial.
“That’s just bad on our part,” Alberts said.
BW (15-9, 10-7 Ohio Athletic Conference) used its advantage on the glass, and its advantage from 3-point range to grab a lead and then add to it.
Rohrbach scored her first basket of the night with 10:42 left in the first half, a layup that gave the Yellow Jackets a 16-9 lead. From there, the Yellow Jackets went on a 19-7 run, and took a 35-17 lead to the break.
Heidelberg was held scoreless over the last 5:24 of the half, and made just 7 of 23 shots from the floor (23 percent).
In the first half, Baldwin Wallace won rebounding 29-12, and took the offensive glass 9-2. The Yellow Jackets had 11 second-chance points, the Student Princes had none.
“That’s absurd and ridiculous,” Alberts said of HU’s first-half rebounding efforts. “I could get more rebounds than that just by putting my body on somebody. I thought the kids did a much better job in the second half.”
Heidelberg came out hot in the second half, offensively and defensively. Miller hit a pair of free throws, then HU forced back-to-back turnovers and turned them into buckets. One by lone senior Jordan Ickes, the other by Kathleen Phillips. BW’s lead was down to 35-23 with 18 minutes left.
Then, after a BW free throw, a Miller 3 cut the Jackets advantage to 36-26.
But it was as close as Heidelberg got as BW regrouped and pulled away.
“If we would have come out the first half like we did the second half, we would have been a lot closer or maybe even won,” said Ickes, the team’s lone senior who played her final game at Seiberling Gymnasium Wednesday.
Ickes had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The guard, who has played four seasons at HU, said she was emotional before the contest.
“I’ve spent so much time here, it’s hard knowing I’ll never get to play again,” she said. “But I know I’ll come back visit and cheer (my teammates) on.”
BW gave Heidelberg’s star on offense, Phillips, some problems. Phillips came in averaging a shade under 20 points a game, but was held to just 13 – still a team high – in the loss.
Phillips made just 5 of 21 shots from the floor.
“She struggled tonight,” Alberts said.
Miller finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
“I wish I could have done more,” Miller said. “I think a few shots could have fell. I just kept trying and kept rebounding.
Miller said it’s weird going up against Rohrbach, who she’s known since they were in about fourth grade.
“You know what she does, she knows what I do,” Miller said. “We sprinted our butts off every day in practice in high school, so we have a respect thing.”
Rohrbach said she enjoys the matchup.
“It’s fun, I like playing against her,” Rohrbach said.
BW was led by Jessica Lairson, who hit five 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds.
Heidelberg’s Paige Ricketts had 11 points and eight rebounds.
With Muskingum’s loss Wednesday night, Heidelberg’s (6-18, 2-15) OAC tournament hopes are simple. If it wins Saturday at Otterbein, it’s in.
“We just have to come out like we know we’re gonna win, and play our roles on the team like we know we’re supposed to,” Ickes said.