Wayne Christian girls top Bethel
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 13, 2009 1:46 PM
Julia Oden has learned a lifetime's worth of lessons about overcoming adversity in the past few days. A 10-point first half deficit was nothing worth getting worked up over.
Oden, a transfer to Wayne Christian School from Georgia, lost her mother Ellen Brinkley to a terminal illness on Friday.
Despite playing with a heavy heart, Oden finished with a game-high 22 points to go with nine steals as the Eagles rallied past Bethel Christian 47-41 on Monday evening.
"We were all really amazed just to see Julia out here because we didn't expect her to be back," said Wayne Christian head coach Lee Price. "When we got down at halftime she was taking a breather because she was having trouble breathing. The whole team just got behind her and they were doing this for Julia."
Lindsey Crane's free throws extended the Trojans' advantage to 36-28 early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles trimmed the margin to 36-33 before Courtney Stroud's jumper pushed Bethel's lead to 38-33.
Jennifer Price sank a pair of free throws with 3:44 to go that cut the deficit to 38-35 and ignited a 14-0 Wayne Christian run. Hanna Kaler's putback pulled the Eagles to within 37-38 and Oden's layup put Wayne Christian ahead for good at 39-38 with 2:15 to go.
Kaler added a free throw and Oden's layup stretched the Eagles lead to 42-38. Oden drained a 3-pointer from the corner with a Bethel defender in her face with 1:06 to play that capped the run and turned out the lights on the Trojans' comeback hopes.
"Julia's a great girl and she's got a big heart and she loves this team," Lee Price said. "I thought the 3-pointer really put the game away. When that 3-pointer went down it broke their back I believe."
The Eagles (7-3 overall) struggled through three quarters. Turnovers and giving up numerous second-, third- and fourth-chance scoring opportunities plagued Wayne Christian.
Price's team committed 19 turnovers in the first three quarters, while the Trojans grabbed 18 defensive rebounds and limited the Eagles' chances offensively.
Courtney Harrell's 3-pointer put the Trojans ahead 26-16 just before halftime. Harrell finished with a team-high 18 points.
Oden's layup left the Eagles down 26-18 at intermission. Kaler scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Price hopes an inspirational win driven by a player fueled by a higher purpose will give his team a glimpse of what they're capable of.
"We had a game like this last year that was the turning point in our season," said Price. "We were 5-5 and we came back from 12 points down in the fourth quarter and beat Faith of Rocky Mount at their place and it turned our whole season around. We ended up 14-7 and I hope this will push us to that."
Wayne Christian entertains Community Christian today.
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