Category: SOC1

Lady Titans lose lead, suffer first loss


Spring Valley (WV)64Win
Notre Dame57Loss

Lady Titans lose lead, suffer first loss

By Paul Boggs

Photo’s by Kent Sanborn

PROCTORVILLE — Unfortunately for the Lady Titans on Saturday, it was not the tale of two halves they wanted to hear.

As a result, Notre Dame’s undefeated season — in its bid for an amazing three in a row in fact — saw itself come to an abrupt end.

After an on-fire first half in which the Lady Titans charged out to an 18-point lead, the big-school Spring Valley (W. Va.) Lady Timberwolves went off for a monster comeback — and outscored Notre Dame 41-21 in the second half en route to handing it a 64-57 defeat for the Lady Titans’ first setback of the season.

The contest was part of the annual Tri-State Hoops Throwdown event, held inside the Carl York Center on the campus at Fairland High School.

Although there is much more basketball to be played, the Lady Titans surely would love to have Saturday’s second half — and even the final two minutes of the first half — back.

Following an Ava Hassel free throw for Notre Dame, the Lady Titans took a commanding —or so it seemed — 32-14 advantage with four minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Even Isabella Cassidy canning a three-pointer from the top of the key at the 2:10 mark to make it 36-19 — there wasn’t a worry that this game could get away.

By the halfway point, the defensive-oriented Lady Titans had already forced 14 Timberwolf turnovers, stymied Spring Valley into 7-of-26 shooting for a cool 27-percent, outrebounded the West Virginians 25-16, and had splashed five three-pointers including three from Hassel.

Not to mention, Notre Dame’s Claire Detwiller dominated on the inside with 10 first-half rebounds and nine points, and Spring Valley’s two tallest players —Caroline Asbury and Ella Edwards —had already picked up three personal fouls.

But, as Newfound Glory once sang, it was all downhill from here.

In a roaring rally, the young Timberwolves went kamikaze on the Lady Titans — nearly doubling them up in each of the final two quarters 23-12 and 19-9.

Simply put, Notre Dame got to playing way too fast, took too many quick shots, committed 13 turnovers in the second 16 minutes — and most importantly saw its nearly 20-point lead and its undefeated season evaporate with it.

The Timberwolves — which had held leads of 7-4 and 9-6 — took their first lead since the 1:45 mark of the first quarter with five minutes remaining to break a 52-52 tie.

Detwiller scored 30 seconds later for a 54-54 deadlock, but Spring Valley reeled off the next 10 points for its largest advantage — as ND’s Cassie Schaefer sank a three-pointer with six seconds left for the 64-57 final score.

With the loss, the Lady Titans — the second-ranked squad in the second weekly Associated Press Ohio High School girls basketball poll —fell for the first time in 15 tries this season.

It also ended their attempt for a remarkable three consecutive undefeated campaigns, which means Notre Dame won all 44 regular-season affairs over the past two years — before capturing the first 14 for this season.

Notre Dame’s only losses the last two years were in the Division IV regional semifinals —against Waterford two years back and to Peebles last March.

On Saturday, Notre Dame coach J.D. McKenzie did something he hasn’t done in three seasons — give a postgame media interview following a loss.

“We had a really good first half, but late in the second quarter, we rushed some shots, turned the ball over a couple of times, and they cut into an 18-point lead (32-18) to make it a 14-point lead (36-22). I still thought we had a great first half, and we talked about coming out in the second half and trying to extend that lead. We knew the third quarter would be huge, but we had a terrible third quarter and they had a great third quarter,” he said. “Uncharacteristically, we turned the ball over 20 times, we missed 22 threes, we took a lot of quick shots. They made us play fast, and they basically did to us in the second half what we did to them in the first half.”

For the game, in addition to the 20 turnovers, the Lady Titans — despite shooting 22-of-60 for 37-percent — took 30 threes and only made eight (27-percent).

They went 5-of-17 (29-percent) in the first half, followed by 3-of-13 (23-percent) in the second.

Spring Valley, by bringing full-court pressure, either turned the Titans over — or sped them up to where they were rushing so many shots.

It also impacted Notre Dame defensively, as in the fourth quarter the Timberwolves were going right at the rim —and the Titans simply couldn’t stop them.

All nine of the Timberwolves’ fourth-quarter field goals were inside the arc, including three from Asbury, who poured in nine buckets for 18 points —seven of which were in the second half.

Asbury also grabbed 11 rebounds, as it was her offensive board and assist to Jenna Christopher that lifted the Timberwolves back in front 54-52.

Spring Valley — which raised its record to 7-4 and is the equivalent of a Division I or large Division II school in Ohio — had just six second-half turnovers, and outrebounded the Lady Titans 19-12 over the same span.

Spring Valley, in the third quarter, sliced the deficit down to as far as one point three times — at 39-38, 41-40 and 46-45.

The Timberwolves bagged three threes in the third, including two by Sydney Meredith, who also netted two treys in the opening period.

Meredith paced Spring Valley with 19 points on six total field goals and 3-of-3 free throws, while Brea Saunders —whose second-quarter three-ball at the 1:30 mark to make it 36-22 and actually jump-started the Lady Timberwolves’ comeback —scored 11.

Asbury added eight points on four baskets in the tide-turning third frame, as her field goal just 15 seconds into the fourth made for a final one-point deficit at 48-47.

She then tied the game at 52-52 on an easy bucket with 5:12 remaining.

McKenzie said the Timberwolves were having their way with scoring in the second half.

“That’s the one, the defensive end, that hurts. We talked about eliminating this team’s easy buckets. We did that in the first half, made them work for everything. In the second half, they got some run-outs, they got some second-chance opportunities, we were late on some close-outs and assignments,” he said. “And truthfully, it looked like we got tired in the second half.”

McKenzie continued by explaining the fatigue factor, as Notre Dame —with the exception of its season-opening win over South Webster (46-44) and its Southern Ohio Conference Division I victory over New Boston (66-52) — has dominated its opposition to this point.

“Most of our starters through our first 14 games are probably averaging two-and-a-half quarters of play a night. That’s on me as a coach to get them in better shape in practice,” he said. “I didn’t do a very good job tonight either, but we have experienced girls out there playing for us. This should be an eye-opening experience for them not to play rushed and in a hurry and sloppy. The shots that we normally make weren’t falling and we turned the ball over way too much, we didn’t communicate well enough defensively and we got wore out.”

Detwiller did her part to pace the Lady Titans, amassing 19 points on eight field goals and 3-of-5 free throws.

The six-foot junior center was named Notre Dame’s Player of the Game, as she also ripped down a game-high 17 rebounds.

Hassel hit her 19 points on three twos and four treys, as her three trifectas for the first quarter spearheaded the Lady Titans’ 22-9 early advantage.

The Timberwolves led 9-6 at the three-minute mark —only to see the Lady Titans tear off for the final 16 points of the stanza.

Cassidy connected for three triples towards 11 points, as her third-quarter three made it 39-24 with seven minutes to play.

From there, though, Spring Valley vanquished its deficit by posting the next 14 points over the next four-and-a-half minutes.

The Timberwolves went ahead five-and-a-half minutes later, and outscored the Lady Titans 14-5 for the five-minute and 12-second finish.

McKenzie was upset about the loss, but cares more about his Lady Titans learning from their mistakes.

Moreover, Notre Dame doesn’t have any time to wallow about it either, as it returns to non-league action on Monday night by visiting Valley.

“I don’t care about being undefeated or what our record is. I hate losing more than I like winning, but the only thing I care about when we lose is that we better learn from it. I’m mad that we got beat, but I am going to be more mad if we don’t learn from this and if this doesn’t get their (Titans) attention and show them how much harder we have to work every day if we want to achieve our goals,” said McKenzie. “Hopefully, this is a good learning experience for us.”

* * *

Spring Valley 9 13 23 19 — 64

Notre Dame 22 14 12 9 —57


Jenna Christopher 3 1-4 7, Brea Saunders 4 1-2 11 Victoria Asbury 0 0-0 0, Holly Riggs 0 0-0 0, Halie Bailey 2 1-2 5 Sydney Meredith 6 3-3 19, Ella Edwards 2 0-0 4, Caroline Asbury 9 0-1 18; TOTALS 26 6-12 64; Three-point goals: 6 (Sydney Meredith 4, Brea Saunders 2)

NOTRE DAME 57 (14-1)

Taylor Schmidt 0 0-0 0, Ava Hassel 7 1-1 19, Cassie Schaefer 1 0-0 3, Olivia Smith 0 0-0 0, Annie Detwiller 0 1-3 1, Claire Detwiller 8 3-5 19, Isabel Cassidy 4 0-1 11, Lauren Campbell 2 0-1 4; TOTALS 22 5-11 57; Three-point goals: 8 (Ava Hassel 4, Isabel Cassidy 3, Cassie Schaefer 1)

Spring Valley (WV)


Notre Dame



Date League Season
January 18, 2020 SEO 2019-20



The Lady Bobcats never trail, win 48-25



Lady Bobcats buckle down, top Tigers

By Paul Boggs

FRANKLIN FURNACE —Simply put, Green got the memo, got its offense going, got defensive against the New Boston Lady Tigers, and ultimately got a big win.

That’s because the host Lady Bobcats — after scoring the opening dozen points — buckled down and turned back the Lady Tigers 48-35 on Thursday night in a girls basketball battle for second-place in the Southern Ohio Conference Division I.

Green indeed made the Lady Tigers see red, racing —or more like trotting —out to a 12-0 lead with only minute remaining in the opening quarter.

The Lady Bobcats never trailed, as Anna Knapp with three and Kasey Kimbler with two canned all five of Green’s three-point goals over the opening 19 minutes and 48 seconds — aiding the Lady Bobcats to a 29-20 advantage midway through the third period.

In the final canto, Green got field goals from Kame Sweeney (two) and Kimberly Brown (one), but the Lady Bobcats definitely enjoyed their parade to the free-throw line in the fourth —an 11-of-20 effort as they were in the one-and-one bonus situation at the 5:15 mark before reaching the double-bonus with a minute-and-a-half remaining.

The Lady Tigers, from the one-minute mark of the first quarter until the four-and-a-half minute mark of the fourth, trailed anywhere from three to 10 points —before Green gained a pair of 15-point advantages at 40-25 and finally 42-27.

With the victory, the Lady Bobcats pull even with the Lady Tigers for second-place in the SOC I —as both are now 9-2 and trail league-leader Notre Dame (11-0) by two full games.

Green — now 12-4 — gained a season split with New Boston, as the Lady Tigers took the initial matchup in December 70-50.

“Huge win for us,” said Green coach Melissa Knapp. “We beat a very good basketball team this evening. This gets us back tied for second (in the SOC I). This was a total team effort.”

Only seven Lady Bobcats played and five scored, but the Bobcats’ balance on offense was much more evident on Thursday — compared to most contests senior-less Green has played.

Usually, it’s Kasey Kimbler and/or Kame Sweeney scoring the lion’s share of the Lady Bobcats’ points, but Knapp’s daughter —standout freshman Anna Knapp —dialed up for a game-high 15 points on two deuces, three treys and 2-of-4 fourth-quarter free throws.

Green — or either team actually — got on the board finally with four minutes and 20 seconds to play in the first period, as Knapp nailed two consecutive three-pointers for an 8-0 advantage at the two-minute mark.

In the second stanza, the Lady Tigers trimmed the deficit to 17-14 and 19-16, but Knapp netted a two-pointer on a short jumper at the 2:20 juncture, then —just left of the key —connected for her third and final triple to make it 22-16 with 1:38 left before halftime.

From there, the Lady Bobcats led by at least six points the remainder of the way.

Coach Knapp said shooting from the perimeter, and conversely defending New Boston on the three-point arc, were two of the Lady Bobcats’ primary goals.

Both clubs finished with 14 made field goals, but Green hit five threes while the Tigers tallied none.

“We know the (Lexus and Sammy) Oiler sisters can shoot the basketball, so that was huge for us to hold them to no threes. And Anna (Knapp), we always talk about getting that third shooter or scorer to be consistent. That’s three threes for her two straight nights. We’ve been lacking that third scorer,” she said. “It’s been Kasey (Kimbler) and Kame (Sweeney), but if we can get that third scorer, maybe even a fourth scorer…”

Kimbler followed Knapp with 13 points on two twos and two threes, along with 3-of-6 second-half foul shots.

Her first trifecta from the wing made it 17-8, as her second —16 minutes and 20 seconds later —kept the distance at 29-20.

Sweeney and Kimberly Brown bagged eight points apiece, as Sweeney scored three baskets and 2-of-4 fourth-quarter foul shots — and Brown two buckets and 4-of-8 free throws.

Charli Blevins went 4-of-6 at the stripe in the fourth, including splitting the final free throws with 23 seconds left for the final score.

Those foul shots came courtesy of a technical foul on New Boston coach Kayla Wiley, who picked up her second technical and was subsequently ejected.

The Bobcats buried all 15 of their made free throws over the final three quarters, including 13-of-24 in the entire second half.

The Tigers trailed 31-25 only nine seconds into the fourth quarter, but Green ran off nine unanswered markers over the next three minutes and 20 seconds for its largest lead at 40-25.

They reached that margin with Kimbler converting a free throw following Wiley’s first technical.

As a result of falling behind, New Boston brought full-court pressure defense, but the Lady Bobcats beat it often times —and eventually the Lady Tigers had to foul.

Coach Knapp said cutting down the turnovers led to a confidence-booster for her group.

“The last game, we were in the driver’s seat most of the game until the fourth quarter. So I was having flashbacks. This time, the pressure didn’t bother us. I expected them to press, and we’ve worked and worked and worked against that press. Once our girls figured out that we weren’t going to turn the ball over, we played with confidence,” she said. “We didn’t come into this game scared. So many times when we had a big game early in the season, we were nervous. We were not nervous by any means at all tonight. We have kids who can break the press and take the ball to the rack and try to score.”

Lexus Oiler, amid two first-half fouls, amounted 15 points to pace the Lady Tigers — on five field goals and a perfect 5-of-5 free throws.

Sammy Oiler added seven points on three baskets and a split of fourth-quarter foul shots, while Kenzie Whitley scored six points, Shelby Easter four and Taylen Hickman three.

Of New Boston’s 70 points in the first meeting, Green gave up 31 of those in the fourth quarter.

This time, the Tigers — against the Bobcats’ man-to-man defense — turned the ball over too much and missed way too many shots.

Lexus Oiler’s field goal at the minute-mark and Whitley’s basket with 15 seconds left were New Boston’s only first-period points.

From there, the Lady Tigers played catch-up, and only got as close as three points twice (17-14 and 19-14) in the second quarter.

“Our defensive effort was much better. We played them zone the last time, we played them triangle-and-two and box-and-one. I didn’t feel our man-to-man was where it needed to be. In this game, we played straight up man-to-man,” said Coach Knapp. “That’s my thoughts pretty much every game we play now. I don’t have to sit and worry about what junk defense we’re going to play to stop their best player. I’ve got kids that are sitting down and playing defense. That was obviously the main difference. We gave up 31 points in the fourth quarter the last time we played them.”

On Thursday, all the Lady Tigers totaled was 35.

New Boston — now 12-6 — returns home, and returns to non-league action, on Saturday against Valley.

Green, meanwhile, goes out of conference — and across the bridge into Kentucky — to face Raceland on Tuesday night.

Knapp said it is important for her Lady Bobcats to build off arguably their best victory of the season so far.

She hopes they get the memo on that as well.

“Anything can happen on any given night. So we have to savor this victory tonight and it’s back to the drawing board tomorrow. There are still more games to be played,” said the coach. “Just assuming we’re going to finish in second (in the SOC I), that’s NOT how this works.”

* * *

New Boston 4 12 8 11 — 35

Green 12 12 7 17— 48

NEW BOSTON 35 (12-6, 9-2 SOC I)

Lexus Oiler 5 5-5 15, Shelby Easter 2 0-1 4, Kenzie Whitley 3 0-0 6, Taylen Hickman 1 1-4 3, Sammy Oiler 3 1-2 7, Adrianne Shultz 0 0-0 0, Cadence Williams 0 0-0 0, Dylan O’Rourke 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 14 7-12 35; Three-point goals: none

GREEN 48 (12-4, 9-2 SOC II)

Anna Knapp 5 2-4 15, Kasey Kimbler 4 3-6 13, Kimberly Brown 2 4-8 8, Kame Sweeney 3 2-4 8, Charli Blevins 0 4-6 4, Kaylee Christian 0 0-0 0, Brelan Baldridge 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 14 15-28; Three-point goals: 5 (Anna Knapp 3, Kasey Kimbler 2)






Date League Season
January 16, 2020 SEO 2019-20