UNION TOWNSHIP | Bri Blackwell wanted to change the intensity of a one-point game.
So the Whiting junior quickly came out in the second quarter and scored five points. Then a steal and another two points. Then another steal.
In all, Blackwell sparked an 11-0 run that erased the deficit and eventually gave the Oilers a 47-34 girls basketball win over Wheeler in Friday's Greater South Shore Conference action.
"When we're down, I try to take it to the basket, and I try to do anything I can to try to keep us from (staying) down," Blackwell said. "We never stopped fighting."
"She's that kind of kid," Whiting coach Kevin Moynihan said. "They did not allow her to get any shots from the perimeter, and we knew they were going to guard her like that, so she tried to create shots for herself. She did that very well."
Blackwell finished with 19 points and five steals, team highs. She was only bested in points by Wheeler's Nickole Finch, whose 22 points came with 11 rebounds. Finch, the Bearcats' junior forward, scored nine of her team's first 11 points and had 13 of Wheeler's 16 points at halftime.
"When you actually see Nickole play live, she's constantly drawing the attention of two or three players," Wheeler coach Dustin Nelson said. "That's what you saw early on was that she had two or three players hanging on her, and she still had her way."
Wheeler needed support for Finch's 22 points, and added a game-high 13 rebounds from Shannon Eden. The next highest scorer to Finch was a six-point game from Allie Stevenson.
"They've got a couple girls that can do their jobs, and that's what you need at this level. You need two or three girls that can hit the basket and you need two or three girls that play the supporting cast," Nelson said. "There's a lot of value in the role player, the kid who isn't a superstar, or needs their name in the paper, but the kid that scores six, seven points and pulls down three, four rebounds."
Whiting picked up 13 points from Abby Bondi, while remaining tied for the top of the GSSC race. The regular-season conference champion will be decided Jan. 12 when the Oilers meet Bishop Noll. Citlali Lopez scored eight points and hit a pair of 3s, but sat on the bench most of the fourth quarter with four fouls.
"We hung on to come away with a win," Moynihan said. "We took care of the basketball when we had to and remained in the race."