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By BRIAN LANGLEY
Morgan County News
The top spot in the district was on the line in both the girls and boys games when Wartburg hosted Oliver Springs on the hardwood Tuesday night.
The Lady Bobcats used a 31-point effort from UTC signee Kayla Christopher to put away a determined Wartburg team, 57-43, and stay atop the District 4-A standings, while Oliver Springs overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to win in trilling fashion in a 54-52 triumph of the Bulldogs in a battle of the last of the unbeatens in District 4-A.
It hasn't been easy, but Michelle Christopher's have passed every District 4-A test they have faced so far this season. Oliver Springs had another tough one on the road and passed by a 57-43 count at Wartburg in game that wasn't decided until the final quarter.
Oliver Springs went on a 14-4 run over the final eight minutes to secure their fifth win of the season in district play without a loss.
Wartburg came out and built a 10-5 lead barely halfway through the opening quarter with senior Taleah Armes scoring seven points. Kayla Christopher then heated up for the Lady bobcats and scored 11 points in a less than two and a half minutes to help give her team a 16-10 lead and by the end of the quarter, Oliver Springs was up 20-13.
Oliver Springs' Chelsea Harper came out strong in the second quarter and scored six points to help lead the way for a 31-17 lead with 4:40 left until halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs started to chip away at the lead and Lauren Bunch and Alisha Winegar each knocked down a three-pointer to spearhead a 12-6 surge (Armes hit three freebies with less than a second left) over the final four minutes of the half to close the margin to 37-29.
Wartburg's Elizabeth Chapman started the third quarter with a trey and then the final seven minutes of the period turned into a Christopher vs. Armes scoring match. Christopher scored six straight points to push the lead to 43-32, while Armes scored the final seven points of the period to close the gap to 43-39.
Oliver Springs didn't score during the final 4:34 of the quarter.
The Lady Bobcats took control of the game with a 10-0 run to begin the fourth quarter with Christopher leading the charge with back-to-back three-point plays to up the advantage to 53-39 with 4:40 left in the game.
Armes managed a couple of freebies to stop the streak, but Oliver Springs closed the game with a 4-2 edge over the final 3:39 to pull out the 57-43 win.
Oliver Springs held a 26-22 edge on the backboards and used 12 steals to improve to improve to 5-0 in District 4-A.
Oliver Springs was led by Kayla Christopher (31 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals). Chelsea Harper (6 rebounds, 3 steals), Mariah Ollis (5 boards) and Kasi Bilyeu (3 rebounds) each chipped in six points.
Wartburg (6-8, 1-4 in District 4-A) was paced by Taleah Armes (24 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds). Alisha Winegar (6 points) and Elizabeth Chapman (5 points, 3 rebounds) each had solid efforts for the Lady Bulldogs.
Oliver Springs (57) Christopher 31, Harper 6, Bilyeu 6, Ollis 6, Hall 3, Lively 3.
Wartburg (43) Armes 24, Winegar 6, Chapman 5, Bunch 3, Freels 2, Kidd 2, Seiber 1.
Tyler Harper's three-point play with 13 seconds left lifted Oliver Springs to a 54-52 win at Wartburg in a dramatic second half comeback by the Bobcats, who trailed by 17 (42-25) with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
Oliver Springs (5-0 in District 4-A) held the Bulldogs (10-5, 4-1 in District 4-A) to a season-low 52 points.
The game was tight all through the first quarter with the lead never exceeding three points, By the end of the period, Wartburg led 10-9 with Andrew Howard's four points leading the way for the 'Dogs.
Wartburg opened up an 18-12 lead midway through the second quarter won a nifty reverse lay-up by Adam Griffith, but a rebound basket by Harper and a three-pointer by Sean Richardson closed the gap to 18-17 with 2:03 left until half-time.
Howard, however, was able to score four points in the final 29 seconds of the half to help give Wartburg a 23-19 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs picked up their scoring pace during the third quarter and was able to use a 21-12 edge during the period to build a 44-31 lead heading into the final eight minutes of the game.
The 'Dogs started out the third quarter with a 19-6 surge to build their biggest lead of the game (17) at 42-25 with 1:47 remaining in the third. During the run, Josh Kidd and Cody Goodman each drilled a three-pointer.
Wartburg kept their double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter at 50-40 with less than four minutes left before Oliver Springs started to chip away at the lead at the charity stripe.
Tyler Carter hit three of six shots at the line and Richardson added a basket to close the gap to 50-45 with 1:47 left. Wartburg's Caleb Bunch hit a freebie to push the lead to six. During the next minute, Oliver Springs pulled to within 52-51 with Wesley Rather knocking down a huge three-pointer and adding a freebie.
Wartburg's Goodman had a chance to increase the lead, but missed on two free throws with 24 seconds left then Rather came down on the next trip and dished it inside to Harper, who came up with the biggest hoop of his career and was fouled in the process. He hit the free throw to complete the three-point play and put the Bobcats ahead at 54-52 with 13 seconds left.
Wartburg had two chances in the final seconds at a win or a tie, but Goodman's three-point attempt was off the mark and Howard's rebound shot was blocked by Richardson at the buzzer as the 'Cats escaped with a 54-52 win on the road.
The Bobcats dominated the game on the glass by a 49-37 advantage.
The Bobcats were led by the scoring trio of Sean Richardson (17 points, 5 rebounds), Tyler Carter (11 points, 18 rebounds) and Tyler Harper (11 points, 9 rebounds). Wesley Rather (8 points, 5 assists, 3 boards) and Lucas Tarver (7 points, 5 rebounds) each played a huge roles in the win for the 'Cats.
Wartburg was paced by the scoring trio of Andrew Howard (12 points, 11 rebounds), Cody Goodman (9 points, 6 rebounds) and Caleb Bunch (8 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals).
Oliver Springs (54) Richardson 17, Carter 11, Harper 11, Rather 8, Tarver 7.
Wartburg (52) Howard 12, Kidd 9, Goodman 9, Bunch 8, Langley 6, Griffith 5, Jackson 3.