By CHRIS RAMBO
EAST LIVERPOOL-The Oak Glen post tandem of senior Vanessa Hissam and junior Jessica Stivason has three years of staring experience together, and Monday night against East Liverpool it showed.
The duo combined for half of the Golden Bears' scoring and half of the rebounding as Oak Glen roared past the Potters 55-30 at East Liverpool High School.
The Bears improve to 7-3 while East Liverpool drops to 6-6.
"I believe Vanessa and Jessica are the two best post players in the area," Oak Glen coach Scott Wiley said. "They are not the biggest or strongest, but the can score, pass and are pretty smart ballplayers."
Hissam finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Stivason had 12 points and nine rebounds. It was Hissam who asserted herself early in the game as the Bears built a 21-6 point lead late in the second quarter.
"It was nice to get out to that early lead and put some pressure on them," Hissam said. "We worked hard on the boards early and were able to get some second chances."
Also key to the early dominance was a tight man-to-man defense. Hissam and Stivason helped limit the Potters frontcourt to just four first half points, while guard Alex Arnott-an all-state track athlete-bothered Potters star point guard with her length and athleticism. Edgell would lead the Potters with 15 points but required a number of shots to attain that total and had trouble all night initiating the offense.
"Alex has a lot of speed and we were able to utilize that tonight," Wiley said. "Edgell is very quick off the dribble and passes the ball well. Alex did a nice job of playing her tight and closing off the passing lanes."
"The pressure they put on Nikayla really bothered her," East Liverpool coach Allan Dingey said. "We were never able to run our plays the way we should."
Up by 12 at halftime, Oak Glen ramped but the pressure in the third quarter with a press defense that led to some easy baskets as the Bears expanded the lead to 41-21.
"They were probably expecting us to come back in our regular defense," Hissam said. "But we wanted to shake things up a little bit and see how they responded."
Stivason did most of her scoring in the third, often set up by accurate passes from Hissam, who finished with four assists.
"We've been playing together long enough that I know where she is going to be," Hissam said. "I know where she likes to shoot so when she's there I try to give her the ball."
Oak Glen is at Brooke on Thursday, while the Potters are at Steubenville on Wednesday.
"Tonight wasn't our night, we got frusterated early," Dingey said. "But we had two good practices leading up to this game and we played well Saturday. We have to get back to work tomorrow."
Oak Glen won the jayvee game 40-37 in overtime. Taylor McKay had 13 points for the Bears. Elise Smith had nine points for the Potters.
The East Liverpool at Oak Glen game originally scheduled for January 2 has been re-scheduled for January 24.
OAK GLEN: 9-14-18-14-55
EAST LIVERPOOL: 3-8-10-9-30
OAK GLEN SCORING: Alyson Snow 1-0-2, Masie Witherow 0-1-1, Brie Evans 2-0-4, Logan Andrews 2-2-6, Taylor McKay 0-0-0, Alex Arnott 3-0-6, Jessica Stivason 6-0-12, Tori Feicht 1-0-2, Vanessa Hissam 7-2-16, Karly Wiley 2-0-6. TEAM TOTALS: 25, 5-13: 55.
EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Elise Smith 0-0-0, Linsey Rose 0-0-0, Paige Bennett 1-1-3, Taryn Williams 0-0-0, Rae Ana Holmes 1-0-2, Ronnie Bailey 0-0-0, Lindsay Baker 2-1-5, Caitlyn Davis 0-0-0, Nikayla Edgell 4-5-15, Chelsea Possage 1-1-3, Kiara Cowart 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 10, 8-18: 30.
Three-point goals: Oak Glen 2 (Wiley), East Liverpool (Edgell).