By Kevin Schrock
With only six games remaining following Saturday’s game against Tiffin, the Oilers time is running out to secure a playoff spot. They got themselves one step closer by knocking off the Dragons and holding onto their spot in a three-way tie for seventh place in the conference.
“I think this was a must win for us,” said head coach Jim Wiedie. “As poorly as we have played in spurts, we’re still in the seven or eight spot.”
With Tiffin coming into the game with a 4-12 conference record Wiedie also stressed the importance of beating the teams ranked below you.
Defense was the name of the game early on. The Oilers held the Dragons to three points in the first quarter, but only managed 10 of their own. Margaret Wuebker and Haley Horstman had four each while freshman Allie Thobe added a pair.
“Even though we were a little out of sync offensively, to hold them to three points was a big difference maker,” said Wiedie. “It kind of set the tone and that’s why I was a little bit surprised we didn’t carry that into the next few periods.”
The Dragons flipped the script on the Oilers by pouring in 21 points in the second quarter. Thankfully for Findlay, their offense figured things out at about the same time. They stayed with the Dragons stride for stride and carried a 32-24 lead into the locker room.
It was the third quarter where Tiffin really started mounting their comeback. The Oilers stretched their lead to 11 early in the half but by the time the third quarter drew to an end, it took three straight points from Wuebker to give the Oilers the lead at 50-47.
“We gave up way too many points in those last three periods,” added Wiedie. “We do a thing late in the game where we chart three consecutive stops and we didn’t have any of those.”
The result was a game that went down to the wire. With just over five minutes left in the game the Dragons cut the game to 57-55 with an easy layup, and after Thobe made a free throw, both teams went scoreless for a while.
Finally, it was Horstman and Alli Schirmer trading jumpers with under three minutes left to play. The Oilers managed to pull away after that with five straight free throws but still Tiffin wasn’t going down easy.
Schirmer buried another triple to make it a 65-60 game but with the Dragons forced to foul the Oilers iced it from the line and ended the game with a 71-65 score.
The Oilers improve to 14-9 and 9-8 in the GLIAC with the win.
“If we can just keep doing what were doing we’re going to be alright,” said Wiedie. “We have to beat the teams that are below us in the standings and this next week is going to be a big test for us.”
The Oilers will travel to Ashland and Lake Erie for an important road trip heading into the homestretch of the season.