Category: Northwest

Burg takes 1st place lead with win over Northwest



WHEELERSBURG — While Wheelersburg will fire away, and often make, three-point goals each and every outing — the Lady Pirates indeed get defensive like nobody’s business.

And, after all, championships —especially in basketball —are won with the defensive end, and the host Lady Pirates pitched a gem of such against the Northwest Lady Mohawks in Thursday night’s massive Southern Ohio Conference Division II tilt.

With first-place in the division at stake, Wheelersburg — the defending SOC II champion and current league leader —stymied the Lady Mohawks for 32 points over the final 28 minutes and 52 seconds, and captured a critical 56-42 victory in its bid to go back-to-back and wire-to-wire.

That’s correct.

After limiting the Lady Mohawks to their season-low of 35 points in a 44-35 triumph back on Dec. 12, Wheelersburg went at least four minutes and 50 seconds — TWICE — without allowing a single solitary Northwest first-half point.

By the end of the third quarter, the Lady Pirates pushed their advantage to their largest at 17 points (45-28), before fending off a hard-charging Mohawk comeback bid that actually closed the gap to nine points (47-38 and 49-40) twice.

In fact, the Lady Mohawks had a chance to get within seven with three minutes remaining, but missed a shot from short range —as Ellie Kallner and Makenna Walker canned back-to-back three-pointers to end the threat and salt the win.

And, it wasn’t just any ordinary win for Wheelersburg.

The Lady Pirates, ranked seventh in the third weekly Associated Press Ohio High School girls basketball Division III poll, posted their 15th victory in 16 tries —their only setback coming by three points at ninth-ranked Ironton on Dec. 30.

More importantly, they are now better by the dozen atop the SOC II — with a 12-0 league record and only four more league duels left.

The loss left Northwest with a 16-2 record, and an 11-2 tally in the division — with its only two defeats coming against the Lady Pirates.

If Wheelersburg wins its two SOC II road shows next week, including at Minford on Monday night and at Waverly on Thursday night, it will clinch at least a share of its second straight SOC II championship.

What won Wheelersburg Thursday night’s return bout was its lock-down defense, its depth and its experience — as the Lady Pirates forced 21 turnovers compared to only committing six, and went nine deep compared to only six for the Lady Mohawks’ majority minutes.

Following Northwest racing out to a 10-2 lead in a matter of three minutes and eight seconds, including a three-pointer by Haidyn Wamsley right off the opening tip, the Lady Pirates simply put the clamps down.

The Lady Mohawks had 13 first-half turnovers, attempted only 19 first-half shots, and amounted just eight points over the final 12 minutes and 52 seconds of that opening half.

Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said his squad’s defensive effort was “phenomenal”.

“Our goal is always to try to make things as tough as possible on people. From the point it was 10-2, we were really good defensively and we forced some tough shots. They finished with 18 in the first half. It was a lot of kids too, because we rotated in a lot of kids tonight. We wanted to use our depth to make it as difficult as we could on them,” he said.

The Lady Pirates did just that, as eight of the nine that played reached the scoring column —with only Alaina Keeney reaching double figures for a game-high 14 points, on five field goals and 3-of-4 free throws.

Wheelersburg led for the final 23 minutes and 25 seconds, as the Lady Pirates put together nine unanswered points in the final 4:35 of the opening period —taking their first lead at 11-10 on a big Brittani Wolfenbarker three-pointer off the bench.

But the senior Wolfenbarker, already a Shawnee State softball signee, wasn’t done.

With Wheelersburg leading 13-12, she pulled the trigger again —and splashed another trifecta to truly get the Lady Pirates kick-started.

“We’ve been saying for some time that one of these nights, a team is going to catch one of her good shooting nights. Brittani is a kid who can shoot the ball really well. She has shown some flashes like that,” said Spradlin. “She came in tonight and hit those two pretty quick ones. Those role players, those bench players came in and were important for us.”

Kallner, who followed Keeney with nine points, connected for her initial three-pointer to make it 19-14 with 6:13 remaining in the second quarter —and Northwest never was within five points for the final 21 minutes and five seconds.

Northwest coach Dave Frantz said “Wheelersburg is the most athletic and quickest team we’ll see all year, no doubt”.

Frantz, the Lady Mohawks’ track and field coach who is familiar with that Lady Pirate program, also discussed how deep and quick they are.

“They bring in several girls off the bench, but they are athletic with that. Their depth and athleticism hurt us tonight,” he said. “It was a physical game too, and I felt like they out-physicaled us at times. That’s where we have to just learn.”

In addition to Wolfenbarker’s two triples, Macee Eaton added eight points on three field goals and 2-of-2 third-quarter free throws, while Walker chipped in two deuces besides her comeback-killing fourth-quarter trey.

Lexie Rucker, who played in the second quarter, also helped out.

In fact, Wheelersburg’s leading scorer on the season — junior Kaylee Darnell —scored a season-low seven points on two field goals and 3-of-4 free throws.

But, the Lady Pirates play so well as a team that Darnell doesn’t necessarily need to go off for 20-plus points every single night.

Especially defensively, as Northwest went the final 4:52 of the first quarter without a point —as well as a 4:50 stretch of the second period.

After Wamsley scored to get the Lady Mohawks to within 19-16 with 5:43 to go before halftime, Wheelersburg went for nine more unanswered — including Lani Irwin’s three that made it 24-16 with 3:07 showing.

Keirah Potts, the Lady Mohawks’ sole senior and who paced the guests with 11 points on five total field goals, ended the epic droughts both times.

With Wheelersburg leading 28-18 at halftime, Keeney spearheaded the third-quarter onslaught, scoring eight of her 14 in the canto, including her only three-pointer that made it 43-28 with 30 seconds remaining.

Walker then made a steal and layup on the next possession, resulting in a 34-18 outscoring of the Lady Mohawks in the middle two stanzas — as Wheelersburg was up 45-28 following three.

The Lady Pirates held a 20-18 advantage in total field goals, but scored 21 points off seven three-pointers — and made more foul shots (nine) than Northwest even attempted (seven).

Spradlin said his team had to settle down offensively after the slow start, which it did.

“I thought they (Lady Mohawks) got a little tired in stretches, and I thought our ball movement and offensive rebounding was good all night. We also did a good job of picking our points, knowing when to pull up and shoot the little short jumper and when to keep driving and draw some contact. Northwest’s length comes into play, and even when we get around some of their defenders, you still have to finish over top of them. They are big, they are athletic, they are well-coached and they all play hard with a lot of intensity and effort,” he said.

And, as Frantz said, they don’t give up.

Potts played with a serious flu-bug, and Reagan Lewis was the only substitute of two total which played in all four quarters.

Wamsley wound up with nine points on four field goals, as Valerie Copas scored seven, including a three-pointer to make it 8-2 and another to get the Lady Mohawks to within 47-38 with 4:22 remaining.

Trailing 49-40, the Mohawks missed an excellent opportunity to get within seven —and were outscored 7-2 over the final 2:45.

After Kallner and Walker’s threes made it 55-42, Kallner split a pair of free throws for the final point.

“Our girls never gave up. We go down 17, the next thing we get it back to 12, then get it back to nine twice. We came here ready for the fight, and I thought we gave a fight,” said Frantz. “Keirah Potts missed the last two days of school…sick as can be. She never came out of the game tonight and she wasn’t going to. She was going to be our senior leader. Some of these girls never came out of the game.”

Kloe Montgomery scored six points on three baskets, Ava Jenkins had five points in the fourth frame, and Lewis landed two buckets for four for the Lady Mohawks.

Frantz was asked if he would like a third matchup with Wheelersburg — which would, of course, occur in the Division III postseason tournament.

Thursday’s contest sure felt like a tournament tilt — with a good crowd in attendance for both clubs.

“Wheelersburg is one of the best teams in the area. But our girls will welcome a matchup with anybody,” he said. “We would love to see Wheelersburg again, which means we would both have advanced pretty far. Dusty (Spradlin) does a nice job with his girls, and the best team won tonight. But we’ll bounce back. We will. I am very proud of our girls and how hard we worked and prepared for this game. Just wish we could have came out on the other (winning) end.”

That was what Wheelersburg did —to now take a stranglehold on the SOC II.

“We have four league games and two non-league games left,” said Spradlin. “This is a good win for us, but there’s no rest. We’ll get back to work and hopefully we can continue to finish this regular season strong.”

Wheelersburg will travel to Greenup County on Saturday for one of those two non-league encounters, while Northwest will return to the road —and return to SOC II action —on Monday night at South Webster.

* * *

Northwest 10 8 10 14 — 42

Wheelersburg 11 17 17 11 — 56

NORTHWEST 42 (16-2, 11-2 SOC II)

Terah Webb 0 0-0 0, Valerie Copas 2 1-5 7, Haidyn Wamsley 4 0-0 9, Keirah Potts 5 0-0 11, Ava Jenkins 2 1-1 5, Reagan Lewis 2 0-0 4, Kloe Montgomery 3 0-1 6; TOTALS 18 2-7 42; Three-point goals: 4 (Valerie Copas 2, Haidyn Wamsley and Keirah Potts 1 apiece)

WHEELERSBURG 56 (15-1, 12-0 SOC II)

Lauren Jolly 1 0-1 2 Brittani Wolfenbarker 2 0-0 6, Lani Irwin 1 0-0 3, Alaina Keeney 5 3-4 14, Ellie Kallner 3 1-2 9, Kaylee Darnell 2 3-4 7, Makenna Walker 3 0-0 7, Lexie Rucker 0 0-0 0, Macee Eaton 3 2-2 8; TOTALS 20 9-13 56; Three-point goals: 7 (Brittani Wolfenbarker and Ellie Kallner 2 apiece, Lani Irwin, Alaina Keeney and Makenna Walker 1 apiece)


# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Brittani Wolfenbarker-60000
Lani Irwin-30000
Lexie Rucker-00000
Makenna Walker-70000
Macee Eaton-80000
Kaylee Darnell-70000
Alaina Keeney-140000
Ellie Kallner-90000
Lauren Jolly-20000
 Total 560000


# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Haidyn Wamsley-90000
Keirah Potts-110000
Ava Jenkins-50000
Reagan Lewis-40000
Kloe Montgomery-60000
Terah Webb-00000
Valeria Copas-70000
 Total 420000


Date League Season
January 23, 2020 SEO 2019-20



Lady Mohawks hold off Falcons for SOC II win




Lady Mohawks hold off Falcons for SOC II win

By Paul Boggs


MINFORD — By now, it’s safe to say that the Lady Mohawks know the drill.


That’s because Northwest keeps playing, and keeps winning, close — really close in fact — road encounters in the Southern Ohio Conference Division II.


First it was at Oak Hill on Black Friday, then it was at Waverly to tip off the New Year, and on Monday night it was at the Falcons’ Nest at Minford High School.


This time, the Lady Mohawks didn’t need a last-second shot (Oak Hill) or even overtime (Waverly) periods —they simply led wire-to-wire while building an 11-point lead twice, and holding off the hard-charging and host Lady Falcons.


Northwest, withstanding Minford’s comeback bid which included slicing the deficit all the way down to a single point with two minutes and 17 seconds remaining, won 45-38 to remain right behind Wheelersburg for the SOC Division II lead.


The Lady Mohawks are now 11-1 and 7-1 in the SOC II, as Wheelersburg —which handed the Lady Mohawks their only loss on Dec. 12 at Northwest (44-35) —still sits atop the division at 8-0.


With Waverly and Minford making up a game on Jan. 25, the other six SOC II clubs completed the first round of league play —as those half-dozen teams have all played eight conference contests.


Minford, meanwhile, entering its affair with Northwest —was part of a four-team logjam with three league losses apiece, seeking to slide up to third-place in the division behind Wheelersburg and the Lady Mohawks.


The loss left the Lady Falcons at 5-6 —and 3-4 in the division.


But, just like Northwest’s wins at Oak Hill and Waverly, Monday’s matchup at Minford was typical of 2020 life in the SOC II.


Rare does a lead get out of single digits, and usually the game goes down to free-throw shooting and/or the final few possessions.


For the Lady Mohawks, they went from seizing their largest lead at 27-16 —and later at 33-22 — to their smallest margin at 39-38 over exactly 16 minutes.


But in following up a 9-1 run over the final minute and 27 seconds to win at Waverly on Thursday, the Lady Mohawks made it six straight points over the final 2:17 to capture Monday’s meeting in Minford.


“This is two games in a row where it’s come down to the wire, but we’ll take a road win in the conference anytime,” said Northwest coach Dave Frantz. “That’s five road wins in the conference for us now, and all of those are huge. This was another typical SOC II game, but our girls stepped up again when they had to step up, and I can’t say enough about them. They work hard and I am proud of them. I thought our effort was great tonight from every kid that stepped on the court.”


Once again, as was the case with the triumph of the Lady Tigers, Northwest left the door open for the Lady Falcons with some missed shots near the basket — combined with living dangerously with some passes that Minford either did or almost intercept.


However, Northwest is winning the tight ones with defense, as the Lady Mohawks shut the Lady Falcons out over the final 2:17.


“We’ve been winning with defense. We still need to finish inside at the basket more and that’s what’s hurting us, but our defensive effort has been good. Minford was shooting the eyes out of it tonight, but our two girls off the bench — Reagan Lewis and Terra Webb — were huge for us on defense,” said Frantz.


Leading 39-38 after four straight Livi Shonkwiler points for the Lady Falcons, the Lady Mohawks had an immediate answer —as Valerie Copas connected on a 15-foot corner baseline shot to make it 41-38 just 20 seconds later.


It was Copas’ final of eight field goals for a game-high 17 points, as two missed Minford shots sandwiched around a turnover resulted in four final free throws for the Lady Mohawks in the final 18 seconds.


Hannah Tolle’s three-pointer to tie it — with under 50 seconds to play — for Minford missed, setting up Northwest sole senior Keirah Potts to be fouled by Shonkwiler with 18 tics remaining.


Potts put in both of the one-and-one bonus situation, then Haidyn Wamsley —with 2.2 seconds left —went 2-of-2 to complete her 5-of-6 night at the foul line.


Only seven Lady Mohawks played, and one only played in one quarter, but Northwest never relinquished the lead —and six girls cracked the scoring column.


Copas, as Frantz said “had a strong shooting game”, canned a three-point goal to make it 7-0, then scored six more baskets for her 17 points.


In addition to her clutch corner-baseline shot in the final minute and 57 seconds, she won a loose-ball battle with a Lady Falcon for her final basket of the opening half.


Not giving up on the play, Copas wrested the ball away from a Minford player and powered-up at the bucket —dropping the shot in with time expiring to make it 29-21.


Ava Jenkins tallied a dozen points on three twos, a second-stanza three off the wing and an old-fashioned three-point play, as Potts posted three first-quarter baskets — while Wamsley made 3-of-4 first-half foul shots.


Northwest led by at least four points from the six-and-a-half minute mark of the opening quarter until the 4:19 mark of the fourth, as that advantage actually ranged from four to 11 points over a span of two full periods.


However, Minford made the Lady Mohawks work for it — and erased a 33-22 deficit with 5:15 remaining in the third by chipping away with a methodical 16-6 run over the next eight minutes and 22 seconds.


Minford coach Shane Davis felt confident about his Lady Falcons’ chances —had they been able to ever take the lead.


“That’s what I told the girls. If we could ever get that lead, I could see the look in the girls’ eyes. I felt like we would win,” said Davis. “We had a bad first quarter, but we battled back and never quit. Our effort is always there, but we had a slow first quarter again, and that has happened to us even in games that we’ve won. We hurt ourselves, absolutely.”


The Lady Falcons outscored Northwest 9-6 in the third frame, thanks to two field goals and split of free throws by Makayla Watters — and one basket apiece from Shonkwiler and Maddie Slusher.


Slusher and Shonkwiler scored again to make it 39-34, as then Shonkwiler simply took the ball from Potts at midcourt —and converted a layup for a three-point deficit (39-36) with 4:19 to play.


For her 10th and final points, which ultimately ended up as Minford’s final markers, Shonkwiler sank two free throws two minutes later —but Northwest never allowed the Lady Falcons to gain the lead.


“I think we had some good looks, but it was one of those nights we missed a lot of shots,” said Davis. “And you just can’t do that against good teams like Northwest.”


Shonkwiler with 10 before fouling out followed Tolle’s 12 first-half points, which included two three-pointers, two two-pointers and 2-of-2 freebies.


Makayla Watters with seven on two field goals and 3-of-4 free throws, Makenzie Watters with a first-half deuce and a trey, and Slusher with her four points rounded out the Lady Falcons’ scoring.


Although, Minford may have benefited greatly — had it made another shot here or had one less turnover there.


“We had a turnover at the wrong time, we missed a shot at the wrong time. They hit a shot at the right time for them. We couldn’t get back on our side tonight for whatever reason,” said Davis. “We battled again, against another good team in our league, but it’s frustrating not being able to pull one of these out. But these girls are still buying in and we always get effort out of them. We’ve been in every game, and eventually we’re going to turn these into wins.”


Minford returns to the road, and returns to SOC II action, on Thursday night at Eastern.


For Frantz and his Lady Mohawks, their experience at winning close road shows has to count for something.


Shouldn’t it?


“It (experience) helps, but the courts are the same and the baskets are the same 10-foot from the floor. No matter where, when or how, we still have to play ball and work on things like finishing at the basket and taking care of the ball,” said Frantz. “These girls do play hard and find ways to battle and win, and so it’s on to the next one.”


And that next one is against Oak Hill, which Northwest will host on Thursday.


Northwest won the first meeting against the Lady Oaks —when Reagan Lewis landed the shot of Northwest’s season with four seconds left to lift the Lady Mohawks to a 46-45 victory.


Oak Hill will enter at 7-5 and 5-3 in the division, as every game is a must-win if Northwest wants to win the SOC II championship.


* * *


Northwest 16 13 6 10 — 45


Minford 7 14 9 8 — 38


NORTHWEST 45 (11-1, 7-1 SOC II)


Terah Webb 0 0-00, Valerie Copas 8 0-0 17, Haidyn Wamsley 0 5-6 5, Keirah Potts 3 2-2 8, Ava Jenkins 5 1-1 12, Reagan Lewis 1 0-2 2, Kloe Montgomery 0 1-2 1; TOTALS 17 9-13 45; Three-point goals: 2 (Valerie Copas and Ava Jenkins 1 apiece)


MINFORD 38 (5-6, 3-4 SOC II)


Jayden Cartee 0 0-0 0, Ally Coriell 0 0-0 0, Makayla Watters 2 3-4 7, Makenzie Watters 4 2-2 10, Maddie Slusher 2 0-2 4, Hannah Tolle 4 2-2 12; TOTALS 14 7-10 38 ; Three-point goals: 3 (Hannah Tolle 2, Makenzie Watters 1)






Date League Season
January 6, 2020 SEO 2019-20



Lady Mohawks outlast Tigers in 2OT thriller



Lady Mohawks outlast Tigers in 2OT thriller

By Paul Boggs


WAVERLY — For the Northwest Lady Mohawks, it indeed wasn’t the prettiest of outings on Thursday night, but it did make for the happiest of new years.

That’s because visiting Northwest — thanks to its overload of missed shots, turnovers, missed free throws and excess of execution mistakes — ended up working overtime on a rainy night at Waverly High School.

But in doing so, and fighting through their amass of adversity, the Lady Mohawks managed to rally — and escape — for a thrilling 49-47 double-overtime triumph over the Waverly Lady Tigers in a key Southern Ohio Conference Division II tilt.

That’s correct.

It took two overtimes on Thursday to clear up the second-place picture in the rugged SOC Division II race, as Northwest now stands out as that current runner-up club to Wheelersburg — as the Lady Mohawks raised their record to 10-1 and 6-1 in the SOC II.

Wheelersburg (7-0 SOC II), with its 30-point (70-40) runaway win at Eastern, remains in first-place in the division by a full game — having handed the Lady Mohawks their only league loss.

Waverly was trying to stay within common-sense striking distance of the Lady Pirates, but instead slipped and joined a pack of now four squads with already three SOC-II defeats.

The Lady Tigers are now 7-3 — and 3-3 in the SOC II.

But Thursday’s affair inside “The Jungle” was indicative of this season’s SOC II campaign.

Contests are close, teams are young, games go down to the wire and, in this instance — take two overtimes to eventually decide.

While acknowledging his Lady Mohawks have a lot of aspects to improve upon, Northwest coach Dave Frantz said the girls’ growth and grit guided them to the win at Waverly.

“Both teams had a lot of turnovers, missed shots, missed free throws, and you can blame that on anything, but there were 10 girls on the court tonight at all times just battling. Neither team gave up or gave in. There was one senior on the court tonight combined. You look at the missed shots, you look at the missed free throws and the turnovers, but in the end, you overcome your mistakes by not putting your head down and keep fighting,” said Frantz. “We didn’t quit fighting. I think our girls grew up and proved that to themselves.”

For the Lady Mohawks, which had led by as much as seven points twice including 11-4 at the end of the first quarter and 14-7 at the four-and-a-half minute mark of the second stanza on an Ava Jenkins old-fashioned three-point play, faced their biggest deficit in the second overtime — trailing 46-40 following a steal and layup by Waverly’s Zoiee Smith to cap a 10-2 run over the opening two-and-a-half minutes.

However, Northwest never surrendered — and instead suddenly stunned the Lady Tigers with a 9-1 run over the remaining 1:27 to win the game.

Taking advantage of two Tiger turnovers, three missed foul shots and a missed rebound putback, the Lady Mohawks made an incredible charge with very little time.

On the ensuing possession following Smith’s steal and score, Valerie Copas came right back and knocked in a three-pointer a dozen seconds later — slicing the deficit in half to 46-43.

With 64 seconds to play, Haidyn Wamsley made a pair of one-and-one free throws, as Keirah Potts posted a pair of double-bonus makes for the 47-47 tie — following a split by Smith of the double-bonus for the Tigers.

Then, a Lady Tiger turnover on a pass that went out of bounds gave the Lady Mohawks the ball back with 35 seconds left — and Copas came through in the clutch with a driving baseline basket with 22 seconds showing.

It was the eighth — and ultimately final — lead change, as the Lady Tigers turned the ball over again with 13 seconds remaining.

However, the outcome indeed came down to the final possession — thanks to the Lady Mohawks missing two free throws with 5.4 seconds left, allowing the Lady Tigers a chance for the tie or even the win.

Waverly’s Carli Knight, whose basket forced the second overtime tied at 36-36, once again drove the lane in transition and put up a good shot at the buzzer — but it rimmed out and the Lady Mohawks had survived the slugfest.

It was a difficult defeat for the Lady Tigers — battling back from down seven points early and enduring eight ties and eight lead changes, including seven ties and all eight lead changes in the second half and overtimes.

Waverly, with only four first-period points and a first-half scoring drought which spanned seven minutes and 48 seconds, went just 9-of-19 at the free-throw line.

“Down the stretch, they made plays. That was just an old-fashioned SOC II battle with two teams showing a lot of grit, a lot of hustle, a lot of heart and a lot of effort. I was proud of my team for battling back after getting down early,” said veteran Waverly coach John Bonifield. “It just came down at the very end that Northwest executed and we didn’t. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but hopefully, we will learn from it and grow and get better as we move forward.”

Indeed, the Lady Mohawks — especially their more experienced players — made plays in the overtimes.

Prior to her game-tying free throws, Potts — the game’s sole senior in fact — put in buckets to open both extra sessions, giving the Lady Mohawks leads of 36-34 in the first and 38-36 in the second.

Potts posted a game-high 17 points on seven field goals and 3-of-4 freebies, as she split a pair of first-quarter foul shots before her seven field goals.

Her back-to-back baskets broke the first tie of 14-14, as she also scored three times in the second half.

“Keirah had been struggling a little lately, but tonight I think she put it back together. I told her on the bus ride up here tonight that we needed to have a strong game out of her. She’s our senior and she leads us,” said Frantz. “I put a challenge to her and I think she stepped up to that challenge and did what we know she can do.”

Wamsley went for 13 points on three field goals and 6-of-8 free throws — none bigger than her pair in the second overtime which trimmed the deficit to 46-45.

She scored five of Northwest’s third-period points in which Waverly made its rally and took its initial advantage — making a three-pointer for the 21-21 tie and splitting a pair of free throws.

Copas canned two deuces and two treys, including her first three as part of the 11-point first-quarter, towards 10 points.

Jenkins scored seven points on three field goals and her free throw, as only seven Lady Mohawks played compared to nine for the Lady Tigers.

Kloe Montgomery made a basket for a 30-29 Northwest edge, which was the final of the six second-half lead changes.

Northwest overcame a poor 10-of-23 from the foul line, as its defensive length in its zone made it tough on the Lady Tigers to shoot or even pass the basketball with consistency.

“Our defense all year has been our strong point. I thought we played real well defensively. We gave up four points in the first quarter and only 47 for the whole game, and that was in two overtimes,” said Frantz. “Ava Jenkins had some turnovers tonight to where I could tell she was frustrated, but she is a very tough defender and was again. We put her on everybody’s best player almost all the time.”

For the Lady Tigers, that top player would be Smith, who scored 14 points on four field goals and 5-of-6 free throws.

Her lone three-point goal tied it at 24-24 at the end of the third frame, as Paige Carter followed with five field goals for 11 points, including her basket that tied it at 38-38 with an opportunity at a three-point play in the second overtime.

Knight netted four field goals for eight points, including the Tigers’ only first-overtime points — but with seven seconds left to make it 36-36.

Kelli Stewart, who added two field goals for four points, set up Knight with a nice pass on the inbounds play — as Knight made the drive and got the game-tyer.

Michaela Rhoads recorded five points — and drained the Lady Tigers’ other three-pointer with 1:48 remaining in regulation for the tie at 34-all.

Northwest held a slim 19-18 advantage in total field goals.

For Waverly, if only it had made one more basket or one more free throw — or committed one less turnover.

“In the league, you have to win at home and try to steal some on the road,” said Bonifield. “So losing this one and at home is almost twice as bad. It’s a great win for Northwest and we just have to regroup.”

Indeed, although not the prettiest of outings for the Lady Mohawks, it made for a super start to the new calendar year.

It was easily Northwest’s most important victory since it won with Reagan Lewis’ last-second shot at Oak Hill (46-45) on Nov. 29.

“There’s only one way to stay in second (in the SOC II), and that was to win tonight,” said Frantz. “And just like tonight, every night in this league is a battle. The girls just kept fighting and not let up. That was what won it for us.”

* * *

Northwest 11 7 6 10 2 13 — 49

Waverly 4 11 9 10 2 11— 47

NORTHWEST 49 (10-1, 6-1 SOC II)

Valerie Copas 4 0-2 10, Haidyn Wamsley 3 6-8 13, Keirah Potts 7 3-4 17, Ava Jenkins 3 1-3 7, Reagan Lewis 0 0-2 0, Audrey Knittel 0 0-0 0, Kloe Montgomery 1 0-4 2; TOTALS 18 10-23 49; Three-point goals: 3 (Valerie Copas 2, Haidyn Wamsley 1)

WAVERLY 47 (7-3, 3-3 SOC II)

Kelli Stewart 2 0-2 4, Carli Knight 3 2-5 8, Michaela Rhoads 2 0-0 5, Lydia Brown 0 0-2 0, Raelynn Dale 1 0-0 2, Delaney Tackett 1 0-0 2, Zoiee Smith 4 5-6 14, Sarah Thompson 0 1-2 1, Paige Carter 5 1-2 11; TOTALS 18 9-19 47; Three-point goals: 2 (Michaela Rhoads and Zoiee Smith 1 apiece)






Date League Season
January 2, 2020 SEO 2019-20



Burg wins 44-35 at Northwest in SOC II



Lady Pirates road show success

‘Burg wins 44-35 at Northwest in SOC II

By Paul Boggs



McDERMOTT — While Lauren Jolly was the birthday girl, fellow Wheelersburg junior Kaylee Darnell was the Lady Pirates’ focal point.

That’s because Darnell, the Lady Pirates’ all-Southeast District Division III first-team selection last season, delivered big baskets — and all the small things — during the visiting Lady Pirates’ hard-fought 44-35 victory over the Northwest Lady Mohawks on Thursday night.

Both teams took the floor undefeated, both overall and in the Southern Ohio Conference Division II, but it’s the defending division champion Lady Pirates entering mid-December still unbeaten.

Wheelersburg, which had the opening-night bye in the SOC II’s double round-robin schedule, raised its record to 5-0 — and to 4-0 and atop the league.

The young Lady Mohawks (5-1) suffered their initial loss in six tries, and are now 4-1 in the SOC II.

Wheelersburg won the game, in truth, on the strength of two runs — a seven-point spurt in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the second quarter followed by back-to-back-to-back-to-back three-point goals in the third frame for what was Wheelersburg’s largest advantage.

While it definitely wasn’t always a work of art offensively, the Lady Pirates did the job defensively — forcing 11 first-half turnovers and stymieing the Lady Mohawks to just 14 points on six field goals and two made free throws.

Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said that Northwest, despite its youth, “presents so many challenges” — but that his Lady Pirates defended the Lady Mohawks well throughout.

“They have athleticism, they have size, they have length, but I thought our kids did a pretty good job against them,” he said. “We told them they can’t fall asleep. They run some of the dribble-drive that we do. We guarded better as the game went on and guarded well in the full-court. We tried to mix up a few things, whether it was man or zone, and just try to bother them and make them work harder.”

The contest went back and forth for the opening 13-and-a-half minutes, as there were seven lead changes and two ties — with the Mohawks holding leads of 2-0, 4-3, 8-6 and finally at 14-12.

After Ellie Kallner made a steal and Darnell finished with a layup and old-fashioned three-point play to make it 12-8, the Mohawks took their last lead on three consecutive baskets halfway through the second quarter — by Ava Jenkins, Reagan Lewis and finally Valerie Copas.

But the Pirates shut out the Mohawks for the final three minutes of the stanza, as Darnell — who scored five of Wheelersburg’s six first-period points including her three that made it 6-5 — put the Orange and Black back in front for the final 18-and-a-half minutes.

In the final 1:20 of the half, freshman Makenna Walker scored back-to-back buckets for the Lady Pirates off two Northwest turnovers, as her second score gave Wheelersburg a 19-14 advantage entering the break.

According to Northwest coach Dave Frantz, the game boiled down to the Lady Pirates making two runs on his Mohawks.

That was the first.

“That’s the most athletic team we’re going to play all year. All five starters and then girls off the bench, they are very quick and well-coached and one of the best teams in the area. But honestly, they had that run at the end of the first half and there in the third quarter. But I can’t say enough about my girls,” said Frantz. “We had a few missed assignments, but all in all we played well and right with them. Just a couple runs that hurt us.”

Spradlin said his Pirates left some points, and some plays, out on the court in the first half.

“At halftime, we talked about we had missed some opportunities. With this group, we have to learn to be a little bit patient. We were trying to drive the lane all the way to the lane every time. On some of those, you stop short and you kick the ball back out. We did that in the third quarter,” he said. “We needed to relax a little bit more, and coincidentally we hit some shots.”

Darnell was Wheelersburg’s spark-plug — going off for a game-high 23 points on four two-point goals, four three-point goals and perfect 3-of-3 at the foul line.

But besides scoring, she handled the basketball here or got a defensive rebound or tie-up there, making all the key plays — whether they show up on the stat sheet or not.

Spradlin spoke of his point person’s wizardry.

“Kaylee has played a ton of ball at all kinds of different levels. Her instincts are what are so good about her. I thought she made a lot of good decisions tonight. She was in the right spot helping us a lot defensively and especially offensively,” said the coach. “She had to work, but she does a lot of good things. She is a catalyst with the ball. She makes people around her a lot better and we try to play off of her.”

Kierah Potts, the lone Lady Mohawk senior, posted a three-point play just 27 seconds into the second half — but Northwest never got closer.

Instead, over the next four minutes until the 3:20 mark, the Lady Pirates popped four three-point goals to make it 31-17 — as back-to-back bombs by Darnell, one by Kallner and another by Walker made it seem like a tidal wave hit.

Kallner converted a pair of free throws for the final Pirate points of the period, as Darnell scored two fourth-frame field goals — along with a pair of foul shots.

Wheelersburg went 5-of-6 from the line in the last quarter, part of 10-of-15 for the entire game.

Alaina Keeney and Macee Eaton added two freebies apiece along with a field goal, as Lani Irwin split a pair in the opening period.

“Offensively, we’re just trying to get better. We still don’t know when to attack, we miss some opportunities, we force some opportunities at times. In the first half tonight, we dribbled so much, and it wasn’t really with a lot of purpose, it was just to dribble. We cut down on some of that,” said Spradlin. “We’re still learning, and those are things that just take time and we have to be patient with them. We get stagnant a lot, but hopefully we will start taking some of those moments out of the game.”

Copas connected on Northwest’s only three-pointer at the two-minute mark of the third to make it 31-22, as its deficit was never larger than a dozen over the final 11 minutes — but never within fewer than five (38-33) points either.

Copas, who paced the Lady Mohawks with 13 points on five field goals and two free throws, converted to make it 38-33 with 1:50 remaining.

Jenkins and Haidyn Wamsley added eight points apiece on four baskets, as Kloe Montgomery split a pair of first-quarter free throws.

While not happy about the loss, Frantz praised his team’s effort against the highly-touted Lady Pirates.

“We’re not where we need to be, but we are getting there. I’m satisfied with the effort, but we have to keep working. In this league, EVERY night is a fight,” he said. “I’m super proud of these girls and they played their hearts out, but we have to keep getting better, and I believe these girls want to do that too.”

Spradlin, conversely, knows everybody is on the hunt for his Lady Pirates, who on Thursday night and spearheaded by Darnell delivered a birthday gift to Jolly.

That being another big road win in the SOC II — just three days after Wheelersburg won a critical conference clash at Oak Hill.

“Winning on the road in this league is so important. It was important at Oak Hill on Monday night for us, and now was even more important tonight,” said Spradlin. “I think our league is really good this year. If you don’t bring your best game each night in this league, you could walk away with a loss. But I think that’s a good thing. It prepares you well.”

* * *

Wheelersburg 6 13 14 11— 44

Northwest 8 6 10 11 — 35


Lauren Jolly 0 0-0 0, Brittani Wolfenbarker 0 0-0 0, Lani Irwin 0 1-2 1, Alaina Keeney 1 2-2 4, Isabella Hamilton 0 0-0 0, Ellie Kallner 1 2-2 5, Kaylee Darnell 8 3-3 23, Makenna Walker 3 0-2 7, Lexie Rucker 0 0-0 0, Macee Eaton 1 2-4 4; TOTALS 14 10-15 44; Three-point goals: 6 (Kaylee Darnell 4, Ellie Kallner and Makenna Walker 1 apiece)

NORTHWEST 35 (5-1, 4-1 SOC II)

Terah Webb 0 0-0 0, Valerie Copas 5 2-6 13, Haidyn Wamsley 4 0-0 8, Keirah Potts 1 1-1 3, Ava Jenkins 4 0-0 8, Reagan Lewis 1 0-0 2, Audrey Knittel 0 0-0 0, Kloe Montgomery 0 1-2 1; TOTALS 15 4-9 35; Three-point goals: 1 (Valerie Copas 1)


# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Terah Webb-00000
Valeria Copas-130000
Haidyn Wamsley-80000
Keirah Potts-30000
Ava Jenkins-80000
Reagan Lewis-20000
Audrey Knittel-00000
Kloe Montgomery-10000
 Total 350000


# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Lauren Jolly-00000
Brittani Wolfenbarker-00000
Lani Irwin-10000
Alaina Keeney-40000
Ellie Kallner-50000
Kaylee Darnell -230000
Isabella Hamilton-00000
Makenna Walker-70000
Lexie Rucker-00000
Macee Eaton-40000
 Total 440000


Date League Season
December 12, 2019 SEO 2019-20



Lewis lands Lady Mohawks’ winner


Oak Hill45Loss

Lewis lands Lady Mohawks’ winner

Northwest knocks off Lady Oaks in SOC II opener

By Paul Boggs


OAK HILL — Perhaps Reagan Lewis wanted to make sure that the Oak Hill High School gymnasium scoreboard was working properly on Friday.

Well, it does again — and Lewis was responsible for the final number on the Northwest, or guest, side.

That’s because Lewis — the five-foot nine-inch Lady Mohawk sophomore — sank the go-ahead, and ultimately game-winning, shot with four seconds remaining, lifting the visiting Lady Mohawks to a thrilling — and even stunning — 46-45 Southern Ohio Conference Division II girls basketball victory against the Oak Hill Lady Oaks.

That’s correct — maybe an early-season surprise in what will likely be a hotly-contested SOC II.

While it was the league opener for both clubs, it was the Lady Oaks’ opener altogether — and only Northwest’s second bout.

It was also the Lady Mohawks’ second win at Oak Hill in three years, but that one two years ago was a much greater upset than it was on Friday.

As for that scoreboard situation you ask?

Northwest, which won its opener a week ago against Clay, needed two trips to Oak Hill in a matter of five days — because Monday’s matchup between the two squads was postponed when the scoreboard failed to work.

In rescheduling the contest for Friday, Black Friday for a 1 p.m. tip to be exact, it appeared maybe it was too much for the youthful Lady Mohawks — which although experienced were going up against the Lady Oaks, which are considered a consensus favorite to capture the SOC II championship along with Wheelersburg.

However, in a basketball game resembling more of a rock fight, Northwest never batted an eye — and held the lead for the majority of the day, including as much as a 10-point (25-15) advantage with a minute remaining in the opening half.

After the Lady Oaks erased their second deficit of at least six points, the Lady Mohawks went ahead again at 39-34 with four-and-a-half minutes remaining — only to see Oak Hill senior standout Caitlyn Brisker personally clear the Lady Oaks’ third deficit of at least five points, scoring 10 consecutive to give Oak Hill a 44-42 edge with only a minute and 38 seconds remaining.

The Mohawks then made a bad pass on their next possession, which was intercepted by the Lady Oaks’ Olivia Clarkson, who with 49 seconds remaining made the second of two double-bonus free throws — giving the Lady Oaks a 45-42 advantage and after Oak Hill had run almost 45 seconds off the clock in forcing the Lady Mohawks to foul.

But Northwest, after Haidyn Wamsley hit another jumper with 33 seconds left, then got Clarkson to commit to a key turnover — a travel call with 21 seconds showing.

The Lady Mohawks moved the ball into the half-court with 14 seconds remaining, as head coach Dave Frantz then called a timeout to set up a final play.

Lewis got the ball on the left wing, dribbled off a ball screen set by Wamsley as Brisker was defending, and launched a shot from just near the free-throw elbow with four seconds left.

She shot it with confidence and swished it straight through, marking the eighth lead change — but more importantly putting that final number up on the Northwest side of the scoreboard.

Lewis enjoyed a stellar sophomore setter season in volleyball, and Frantz felt she was more than capable of handling a pressure-packed situation at the end of the game.

“I want to be able to have a team, and I thought we did today, where you can’t just deny one person. You can’t just focus on one person. Haidyn (Wamsley) had the hot hand, and of course, they (Lady Oaks) weren’t going to let her take that last shot. But Reagan Lewis is our second person off the bench, and for her to come in with a pressure situation and knock that shot down, I attribute a lot of that to handling pressure situations in volleyball. It just carries over into basketball when you can handle pressure like that,” said the coach. “I’m very proud of her.”

The Lady Oaks, after calling a timeout with one-and-a-half seconds left, actually attempted a very good shot — when Brooke Howard made a great catch of a three-quarters court pass just outside the three-point line.

But Howard hit the rim with the good look, and the Mohawks hung on for a massive early-season SOC II triumph.

“It’s a good team win today against one of the elite teams in the league and the area. These girls are very good kids, but very gutsy kids,” said Frantz. “They play hard, they play their rear ends off, and I just can’t say enough about them. They feed off of each other.”

Speaking of feeding, Frantz joked that he told his Lady Mohawks “not to eat too much turkey” on Thanksgiving Day.

Indeed, Northwest faced on Friday some odd circumstances — with the Lady Mohawks playing an afternoon tilt on a busy Black Friday and making the long morning bus ride to Oak Hill.

“These kids stepped up to all of that,” said Frantz. “The other night when we came up here, I learned something about these girls. There is such a thing as a game face and then there is playing loose. They had good composure before the game, very loose. They knew what they had in front of them, but we also knew that it’s just basketball, so let’s have fun and not make it bigger than it is.”

Although, you can’t ignore the fact that it was a major Mohawk victory — especially when Brisker, the two-time Division III second-team all-Ohioan, blew up for a game-high 30 points.

“Today’s game is what the SOC II is all about. Every game is a challenge,” said Oak Hill head coach Doug Hale. “Caitlyn Brisker was outstanding for us, but we were sluggish in a lot of areas and Northwest never gave up when we rallied to take the lead in the third quarter. They made a lot of shots, forced some mistakes by us, and when you don’t play your best game, you find yourself on the short end.”

While Lewis’ shot will be remembered most, Wamsley was the go-to scorer.

She led the Lady Mohawks with 16 points, which included nine points in the opening half — and seven in the fourth quarter.

Before her clutch shot which trimmed the deficit to 45-44, she put the Lady Mohawks back in front just 18 seconds into the final canto — after Oak Hill had outscored Northwest 13-5 in the third, completely erasing its 25-15 advantage which it held only nine minutes earlier.

Wamsley, who drilled both of Northwest’s two threes, opened the fourth with her second trifecta for a 33-31 edge — the sixth lead change of the game.

She then made two free throws for a 37-34 Mohawk lead, as Ava Jenkins’ jumper from the top of the key gave the Lady Mohawks their final advantage of at least five points (39-34).

Lewis and Jenkins both had two field goals for four points, as Kloe Montgomery (five points) and Keirah Potts (six points) posted a pair of field goals as well.

Audrey Knittel split a pair of third-quarter free throws with 24 seconds remaining, as Northwest needed every single solitary point — thanks to Brisker blowing up for her 30, including three fourth-quarter field goals and her 6-of-7 foul shots.

“A lot of Brisker’s points were over on good defense. She is just a phenomenal player,” said Frantz. “She showed that today. We would have her D’d up, but she moves so well with or without the ball.”

Brisker’s 10-point personal barrage in the fourth included nine in a matter of five minutes, as the Lady Oaks’ 11-3 run from down 39-34 to up 45-42 spanned exactly three minutes and 41 seconds.

Brisker also scored 10 in the second quarter, which included both of the team’s two threes, but it wasn’t until the third frame when Oak Hill finally revved up — going on a 10-1 run to take a 28-26 lead with 4:10 to play.

“We got into a little bit of a panic mode, and even though we have some experience, we have still youth out there,” said Frantz.

Chloe Chambers, the Lady Oaks’ six-foot sophomore inside presence, had just two first-half free throws and two fouls — but scored seven third-period points, including three field goals.

However, her final point was a foul shot with only 5:03 remaining.

Peyton Miller made 3-of-4 second-half free throws for the Lady Oaks, as both teams missed six foul shots apiece (Northwest was 12-of-18 and Oak Hill was 13-of-19).

Clarkson rounded out Oak Hill’s scoring with a first-quarter field goal.

Besides Wamsley, Valerie Copas reached double figures for the Lady Mohawks with 10 first-half points, including four field goals with three baseline jumpers.

“That’s something we’ve lacked the last couple of years,” said Frantz. “Wamsley had a couple of threes and Valerie (Copas) and some other girls all hit mid-range shots today.”

Of course, no shot was bigger than that by Lewis — as Northwest walked out of Oak Hill’s gymnasium with not only a win, but respect.

“Respect is something we have to earn, because no one gives it to you. That’s what we’re playing for. We’re not there yet, but I think we earned some today by defeating a very good well-coached team on the road,” said Frantz.

Northwest will return to the road, and return to SOC II action, on Monday at Eastern.

* * *

Northwest 10 15 5 16 — 46

Oak Hill 6 12 13 14 — 45

NORTHWEST 46 (2-0, 1-0 SOC II)

Terah Webb 0 0-0 0, Valeria Copas 4 2-2 10, Haidyn Wamsley 5 4-4 16, Keirah Potts 2 2-4 6, Ava Jenkins 1 2-4 4, Reagan Lewis 2 0-0 4, Audrey Knittel 0 1-2 1, Kloe Montgomery 2 1-2 5; TOTALS 16 12-18 46; Three-point goals: 2 (Haidyn Wamsley 2)

OAK HILL 45 (0-1, 0-1 SOC II)

Baylee Howell 0 0-0 0, Tamron McCain 0 0-0 0, Chloe Chambers 3 4-8 10, Caitlyn Brisker 11 6-7 30, Baylee Howard 0 0-0 0, Brooke Howard 0 0-0 0, Peyton Miller 0 3-4 3, Olivia Clarkson 1 0-0 2; TOTALS 15 13-19 45 ; Three-point goals: 2 (Caitlyn Brisker 2)


Oak Hill

# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Baylee Howell-00000
Tamron McCain-00000
Chloe Chambers-100000
Caitlyn Brisker 2020300000
Brooke Howard-00000
Peyton Miller-30000
Olivia Clarkson-20000
 Total 450000


# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Terah Webb-00000
Valeria Copas-100000
Haidyn Wamsley -160000
Keirah Potts-60000
Ava Jenkins-40000
Reagan Lewis-40000
Audrey Knittel-10000
Kloe Montgomery-50000
 Total 460000


Date League Season
November 25, 2019 SEO 2019-20


Oak Hill