Pioneers need Corrie Burkhardt for stretch run

Cross your fingers and hope that Marietta College senior Corrie Burkhardt will be available for court action this upcoming week.

Last Friday night at the 7:01 mark of the fourth quarter against visiting Baldwin Wallace, the 5-foot-9 Pioneer forward assumed a defensive stance and collided with Yellow Jacket dribbler Riley Schill.

Burkhardt, who was assessed a personal foul on the play, grimaced and collapsed to the floor, holding her nose. Play was stopped, and she was attended by the trainers.

A few minutes went by before Burkhardt got to her feet and walked off the court on her own power, holding cotton or something over her nose to stem the bleeding, She did not return to the action.

“We’re not sure if it’s broke, but there’s a good cut on it,” said MC head coach Kole Vivian. “She’s so tough. She gave us everything she had.”

Burkhardt, MC’s second leading scorer going into the contest (13.6 points per game), finished with nine points, five rebounds, and three steals in nearly 19 minutes of playing time. She’s been coming off the bench in the last three games since returning from Hawaii on a class-related project.

After Marietta’s 64-56 come-from-behind victory, Burkhardt was seen holding ice on her nose, and shaking hands with the BW players in front of press row.

Bailee Brooks may have the fastest catch-and-shoot release in the Ohio Athletic Conference — and maybe even in the country.

With just four-tenths of a second remaining before halftime against BW, the 5-5 MC sophomore point received teammate Jo Herd-Middlebrooks’ inbounds pass and in one motion drained a triple, reducing the Pioneer deficit to seven (31-24).

“Bailee’s 3 at the end of the first half was unbelievable,” Vivian said.

Brooks was also involved in an incident near the end of the game. With six seconds left, she collected a defensive rebound and got “tangled up” with Schill on the hardwood. After Schill was assessed a personal foul, a double technical foul was called on Herd-Middlebrooks — who was trying to protect her teammate — and Yellow Jacket reserve MacKenzi Matthews for being on the court unauthorized.

Matthews ended up being disqualified and escorted off the floor, right by the Pioneer student body section.

Meanwhile, Brooks converted two freebies to give MC a six-point cushion.

Parity is alive and flourishing in the 2018-19 OAC women’s basketball standings.

After last Friday evening’s league action, John Carroll University was all alone in first place with an 8-2 record. Marietta College, Baldwin Wallace University, University of Mount Union, Capital University, and Otterbein University shared second place, each with a 6-4 mark, while Heidelberg University, Ohio Northern University, and Wilmington College were 4-6.

And, except for Heidelberg, all of these schools own winning overall records. Only last-place Muskingum University with 1-16 and 0-10 recs is out of the hunt.

“The top nine teams are good,” Vivian said. “I mean, John Carroll has a two-game lead, and Baldwin Wallace is really good. And, I think we’re really good.”

Before the scheduled OAC Tournament tips off Feb. 19-23, Marietta (11-6, 6-4) has eight remaining league contests including two road tilts this week at Otterbein 7 p.m. Wednesday and at JCU 3 p.m. Saturday.

Earlier this season, the Pioneers beat both the Cardinals, 75-65, and the Blue Streaks, 81-65, at the BanJo.

Better fasten your seat belt, because it could be a wild ride to the OAC finish line.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com