Olivia Blaker

Holgate’s Olivia Blaker looks to pass against defensive pressure by Montpelier during their BBC game Thursday at Montpelier High School.

MONTPELIER — Holgate’s girls basketball team made several late-game runs and closed the gap against Montpelier to one point numerous times.

But the Locomotives held off the Lady Tigers behind big plays from Jada Uribes and Chelsea McCord to earn a key 35-31 Buckeye Border Conference victory Thursday at Montpelier High School.

“Good basketball team that (Holgate) has. We shot really poorly tonight (29 percent on 12-of-42 shooting), offensively didn’t play very well, but we beat a good team that I think is going to have something to say about who wins the league title, tonight,” Montpelier coach Mike Bumb said. “We’re ecstatic. We’re always happy about a win. Always.”

After Montpelier (12-2, 3-0 BBC) went on a 6-2 run — spearheaded by four McCord points (layup, long-range jumper) — to extend its 15-9 halftime lead to 21-11 with 3:09 left in the third, the Lady Tigers (5-9, 2-1) responded.

Lexa Schuller knocked down a mid-range shot, Carissa Meyer made a mid-range jumper and two free throws and Justine Eis converted a layup in the final 2:20 to cut the Locos’ lead to 21-19 heading into the final frame.

“It was very key,” Holgate coach Scott Giesige said. “We went into halftime — and I don’t think we played particularly well in the first half. I thought we came out a little sluggish in the first half, (but) no excuses. This is a BBC game, we were tied for the lead at 2-0. We just got to find a way to come out better.

“... But you know what, I give my girls credit. They showed their heart, they didn’t quit. Put that run on them in the third quarter and then it’s just a one-possession game the rest of the way.”

To start the fourth quarter, Uribes swung momentum back to Montpelier’s side. The 5-8 freshman nailed two corner 3s within the first 1:31 of the frame to give the Locos a 27-21 advantage.

“She hit a couple big shots in the corner and it was huge,” Bumb said of Uribes. “We really needed her to step up and hit some and she did. She got in a rhythm.”

An Eis putback, two Schuller free throws and an Olivia Blaker 3, compared to an Ariel Page layup, in the following 3:05 made it 29-28 Montpelier with 3:24 to go.

A key play by McCord, who scored a game-high 14 points, helped seal the victory for the Locos. The 5-9 senior broke Holgate’s full-court press and converted a 3-point play with 29.2 seconds left to give Montpelier a 33-29 lead. McCord also added six rebounds (four offensive) and four steals on the night.

“Whenever it seems like the game is on the line and you need someone to make a big play and step up, defensively or offensively, she’s there,” Bumb said of McCord. “She’s got a lot of God-given ability, I get that, but she’s just got a great will, too.”

Blaker hit two free throws with 18.3 left to make it 33-31, but Page answered with two of her own with 3.9 to go and assured victory for the Locos.

Page finished with nine points, four steals and two rebounds, while Uribes totaled nine points and three boards. Mandy Taylor (four rebounds, three steals) also nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first quarter and give Montpelier an 11-5 lead.

Eis scored a team-high 12 points and snagged three rebounds for the Lady Tigers. Blaker finished with nine points and four rebounds, while Schuller (six rebounds) and Meyer (three rebounds, three steals) each chipped in four points.

The Locos forced 24 Holgate turnovers and committed 14, but Holgate had a 25-24 rebounding edge.

“They made more plays than we did down the end,” Giesige said.

Holgate 5 4 10 12 — 31

Montpelier 11 4 6 14 — 35

Holgate: Eis 4 0 4-4 12, Blaker 0 2 3-4 9, Schuller 1 0 2-2 4, Meyer 1 0 2-2 4, Willett 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 7-21 2-6 11-12 31.

Montpelier: McCord 3 2 2-3 14, Page 3 0 3-4 9, Uribes 0 3 0-0 9, Taylor 0 1 0-0 3, Richmire 0 0 0-1 0. Totals: 6-25 6-17 5-8 35.

Junior Varsity: Holgate 19-9.

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