WHEELING - Rivalry games bring out the best in teams.
John Marshall just waited until the second half against Wheeling Park to play its best as Torie Derrow rallied the Monarchs to a 73-68 overtime victory on the Patriots home court.
''Great win against a great team,'' JM coach Mark McCormick said. ''It's always nice to win, but, Wheeling Park/John Marshall, it's just a straight rivalry game.''
Marshall’s Abbi Namath pushes the ball up court against Wheeling Park on Thursday night.
Photo by Tony Viola
Derrow scored 24 of her game-high 32 points in the second half as the Monarchs (8-5) fell behind by as many as nine midway through the third period.
''When she's focused, she can play with the best of them,'' McCormick said of the sophomore. ''Everybody feeds off her. She's one of those unsung leaders. She doesn't think she's a leader, but she is.''
Whether she admits it or not, she came up clutch when her team needed her the most.
It was Derrow's conventional three-point-play after she intercepted a pass on the Park end of the court that put the Monarchs up 66-60 nearly two and a half minutes into the overtime period.
She then pulled down a defensive rebound after Tamara Bumgardner missed a wide-open 3 and got the ball to Emily Winters as she was fouled.
Winters converted her first attempt, but the second rimmed out right into Derrow's arms as she put it back up to extend JM's lead to 69-60.
After Skylar Carrington and Kendra Johnson each hit a 3 to trim the lead to 71-66, Derrow put the game on ice with two more free throws.
''Torie has the ability to play great on both ends of the floor,'' McCormick said. ''She's a good defensive player, but I don't think she knows what type of impact she can make just with her length. She struggled a little in the first half, but she found her groove offensively. On the flip side of that, she buckled down defensively and went with it.''
It was when Park turned a three-point halftime lead into a 35-26 advantage with 5:12 remaining in the third that McCormick switch his defense and went with a half-court press.
That pinned Derrow against Johnson, who went cold after putting up nine points in the first half.
It was that key matchup that seemed to slow the Patriots offense down. Plus the fact the Monarchs began to settle down on offense, which cut out Park's easy transition baskets.
''I've been trying to preach patience all year, but, again, it's a rivalry game, there's jitters,'' McCormick said. ''You just have to roll with the game and continue with the adjustments.''
It was in the second half that John Marshall began to spread the offense, which allowed Emily Winters, Bailey Filben and Derrow to use their inside game, something McCormick believes is his team's strength.
Both Winters and Filben finished with 14 points apiece.
A Hailee Cunningham basket tied the game at 43-43 and capped a 12-2 run by the Monarchs that extended from the middle of the third till the start of the fourth.
Park was ahead by four at 57-53 with 2:07 to play, but Derrow's and Winters' inside games were too much for the Patriots to shutdown. Derrow tied the game at 60-60 with 49 seconds on another layup.
The Monarchs press was so stifling, Park didn't even get a last-second shot off and failed to advance the ball to the 3-point arch as time expired.
Both Kelsi and Kendra Johnson finished with 14 points apiece to lead the Patriots. Kambrea O'Neal added 13.
Park coach Dee Davis was unavailable for comment after the game.