By Steve Wilaj
Going into Friday night’s matchup with Campbell Memorial, Girard High coach Craig Hannon knew his team would have its hands full with the Red Devils’ athleticism and pressure.
And after a first half in which Girard was outscored by nine and held to two second-quarter points, one thing was apparent to the second-year coach.
“We just weren’t ready for a good, athletic team like Campbell,” Hannon said. “But once we settled down and figured some things out, we were finally ready to go.”
The Indians solved the puzzle just in time, as a second-half comeback led by Dylan O’Hara and Evan Standohar propelled Girard to a 49-45 victory.
“Coach told us in the second half we had to pick it up and stop playing lazy,” O’Hara said. “He said to just focus on rebounding and the offense would take care of itself.”
The Indians (7-2) cut the deficit to three heading into the fourth quarter. They regained the lead for good halfway through the final period when O’Hara stole a pass, raced to the basket, scored and was fouled.
O’Hara — who finished with 19 points — executed almost the exact same play minutes later, as another layup and three-point play put Girard comfortably ahead, 42-35, with 2:35 remaining.
“I was reading their eyes,” O’Hara said of the similar plays. “I tipped them a little bit, took it down and just made sure I made the shots.”
A jumper by Standohar with just 1:05 remaining put the Indians ahead, 44-40. He then iced the game with a free throw after a tough rebound off a George Billiris missed 3-pointer.
The senior finished with 11 points and nine boards.
“Evan made some great plays, especially on the offensive glass, keeping some balls alive,” Hannon said. “And Dylan is tough on top of the zone. Those two guys made some plays, but every guy that played tonight contributed in some way.”
Chaston Williams added eight points and Deonte Brown scored seven for the Indians, as the team shot 23 of 45 from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils (5-2) — who were playing their first game in two weeks — were paced by Billiris’ 20 points, but struggled with foul trouble.
“They attacked the basket and we kind of bailed them out,” Campbell coach Mike Szenborn said. “We just didn’t execute on either end of the floor and that was the difference in the game.”
After dominating the Indians 15-2 in the second quarter, the Red Devils were outscored 34-21 in the second half.
“It’s a good win for us — a team-building win,” Hannon said. “We just have to continue to build off this one.”