Category: SOC2

Oak Hill snaps Lady Jeeps’ winning streak


South Webster36Loss
Oak Hill52Win

Oak Hill snaps Lady Jeeps’ winning streak

By Paul Boggs

SOUTH WEBSTER — All streaks, whether good or bad, eventually come to an end.

Unfortunately for the South Webster Lady Jeeps, it’s how their six-game winning streak concluded on Thursday night that left a bitter taste in Ryan Dutiel’s mouth.

That’s because the Lady Jeeps, playing their third game in four nights, struggled shooting and mightily with turnovers —and didn’t get second-half defensive stops against the visiting Oak Hill Lady Oaks en route to suffering a 52-36 setback in a Southern Ohio Conference Division II tilt.

Both clubs are now 9-5 in the league, which stands tied for third-place behind league leader Wheelersburg (13-0 SOC II) and second-place Northwest (11-3 SOC II) —although Wheelersburg has already clinched at least a share of the division championship.

The quality win for the Lady Oaks, in arguably their best overall performance of the season, raised their record to 12-8 —while South Webster is now 11-8, having seen their six-game win streak snapped.

In fact, that fifth victory of six was against Northwest on Monday night (56-52), as the now 17-3 Lady Mohawks’ only other losses are against Wheelersburg.

Oak Hill held the Lady Jeeps to their second-lowest point total of the season, thanks to South Webster scoring just six second-quarter points and only five for the final frame.

The Lady Oaks actually trailed 11-4 only three minutes in, but then reversed course —and outscored South Webster 48-25 over the final 29 minutes.

The contest featured four lead changes and two ties throughout the opening 12 minutes and 25 seconds, as the Lady Oaks went ahead at the 3:35 mark of the second quarter on a Caitlyn Brisker basket —and never looked back from there.

Instead, they only increased their advantage in the second 16 minutes —and did so to as large as 16 points twice (50-34 and 52-36) in the final 2:39.

Truth be told, it was an intense Oak Hill unit that appeared on Thursday night — as the Lady Oaks’ physicality took its toll in tiring out and cooling off the red-hot Lady Jeeps.

“It’s a great win for us. South Webster has been an up-and-coming team and improving all year. We got into a real good flow for the game and just real proud of how we handled it,” said veteran Oak Hill head coach Doug Hale. “We had a lead late, kept control of it, made some foul shots late and really guarded them. South Webster is as tough as they come in our league and if you can go out on get road wins in the SOC II, they are huge. We are glad to get one so late in the year too.”

Speaking of late, the Lady Oaks struggled in the second half of their 52-43 non-league loss against Notre Dame on Monday —after doing so against the Lady Jeeps in the two teams’ initial meeting at Oak Hill, which South Webster won 40-29.

On Thursday, South Webster was within 28-24 after scoring five straight third-period points, but a 13-7 run over the final 4:20 of the quarter extended Oak Hill’s lead to double figures —where it remained the rest of the way.

Brisker, the Lady Oaks’ senior standout, bucketed a game-high 27 points on eight total field goals and 8-of-9 free throws —including all four of her fourth-quarter attempts.

She scored 16 points in the opening half — on five total field goals and 4-of-5 foul shots —including 10 in the Lady Oaks’ opening-quarter comeback.


But, it was her third of her three three-point goals that proved to be her biggest shot —as she beat the third-quarter buzzer by dribbling between her legs, staring down her defender, squaring up and knocking down a trifecta from the wing.

That made it 41-31, and Oak Hill was just fueling up — while South Webster was running out of gas.

The Lady Jeeps only played six players on Thursday — in again the third challenging contest in four days.

The Lady Oaks’ excellent ball movement made South Webster chase and not make necessary defensive plays, especially rebounding the basketball in the second half.

“Towards the end, fatigue maybe played a factor, because we didn’t substitute a lot and we were making some mistakes defensively. But you can’t take away anything from Oak Hill. They were aggressive like they normally are, and we just didn’t bounce back the way we should,” said SWHS coach Dutiel.

Early on, it appeared as if South Webster was in a groove —as the Lady Jeeps scored seven straight points on a pair of Bri Claxon free throws, Kenzie Hornikel hitting the squad’s only three-pointer, and Claxon corralling a defensive rebound and pulling up for two to make it 11-4.

However, the Lady Jeeps’ only other points in the final five first-quarter minutes were a Rose Stephens basket at the 3:25 mark.

The Lady Oaks, including Brisker’s second three-ball, outscored South Webster 15-2 over those final five minutes —and took their second lead at 15-13.

Brisker’s first triple gave Oak Hill its initial advantage at 3-2 at the 6:45 mark.

Then, in the second stanza — and plagued by multiple missed shots and empty possessions — South Webster went a stretch of six minutes and 55 seconds without a single solitary point.

Baylee Cox converted two free throws for the 15-15 and final tie, as Faith Maloney made a putback basket off a steal just 43 seconds into the period.

The next South Webster point, though, came with just 22 seconds remaining —when Maloney made a steal and layup for a 22-19 deficit.

“That defensive stretch for us in the second quarter was huge. It built confidence,” said Hale. “Our girls’ energy and intensity was good and strong all night.”

Olivia Clarkson, who followed Brisker with 15 points on five field goals and 5-of-9 free throws, capped the first half with an old-fashioned three-point play with 13 seconds left.

The second quarter seemed to be where the Lady Jeeps’ legs lost strength.

South Webster won at Eastern on Wednesday night in an SOC II makeup matchup (60-47), but had to withstand several Eagles’ rallies in doing so.

“I didn’t call a timeout, and maybe that is something I should have done. But that’s where the legs are a little bit tired from playing a tough game last night. Playing that kind of schedule, three in four nights, for high school kids is tough on anybody,” said Dutiel. “And they contested every shot and were very physical, and a lot of things just didn’t go our way.”

Still, South Webster was only down 28-24 with four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third, but they couldn’t contain Clarkson, who scored eight of her 15 in the canto on three field goals and 2-of-2 free throws.

Oak Hill had two-point goals from Brisker, Baylee Howard and Chloe Chambers as well, as Howard — who added eight points on four field goals — had two key offensive rebounds after missed free-throw opportunities in the fourth.

The Lady Oaks amassed an 18-12 advantage in total field goals, and attempted 20 free throws —with Brisker bagging her final 8-of-8.

“When we played them (Lady Jeeps) at Oak Hill, we had a halftime lead and we just didn’t finish. They outplayed us. We came out in the second half tonight and finished. I thought Caitlyn (Brisker) came back to get the ball late in the game where she hasn’t been doing that. It’s nice to have our best ball-handler and foul shooter have the ball in her hands,” said Hale.

South Webster’s top scorer —Claxon —led the Lady Jeeps with 10 points on three field goals and 4-of-4 free throws, while Cox chipped in nine on two fourth-quarter field goals and 5-of-6 foul shots.

Besides Cox’s baskets, the Lady Jeeps’ only other fourth-quarter marker was a Hornikel foul shot, as she ended up with eight points —after scoring seven points in the first frame.

Maloney split a pair of third-quarter free throws for five points, while Stephens scored another deuce in the third for four.

Claxon was coming off a massive season-high 33-point performance at Eastern, but definitely wasn’t expected to duplicate that effort against Oak Hill’s lockdown and pressing defense.

Dutiel did say he was “very proud of the way we battled and never gave up, and that’s an encouraging sign coming into tournament season.”

“The streak of six games, that is something we really needed. It was good for our team and a lot of confidence came from that. But going into an Oak Hill-South Webster game, everything goes out the window and it’s a street-fight,” he said. “Oak Hill is a tough team and Doug (Hale) has been around a long time and he knows the game really well. Any time you play his teams, you have to be prepared because they are well-coached.”

Oak Hill hosts Valley in the SOC II on Monday night, while South Webster will round out the regular season with another three games in a four-night week next week —starting on Monday night at Portsmouth West.

* * *

Oak Hill 15 10 16 11 — 52

South Webster 13 6 12 5—36

OAK HILL 52 (12-8, 9-5 SOC II)

Baylee Howell 0 0-2 0, Tamron McCain 0 0-0 0, Chloe Chambers 1 0-0 2, Caitlyn Brisker 8 8-9 27, Baylee Howard 4 0-0 8, Brooke Howard 0 0-0 0, Olivia Clarkson 5 5-9 19; TOTALS 18 13-20 52; Three-point goals: 3 (Caitlyn Brisker 3)

SOUTH WEBSTER 36 (11-8, 9-5 SOC II)

Faith Maloney 2 1-2 5, Liz Shupert 0 0-2 0, Kenzie Hornikel 3 1-2 8, Rose Stephens 2 0-0 4, Baylee Cox 2 5-6 9, Bri Claxon 3 4-4 10; TOTALS 12 11-16; Three-point goals: 1 (Kenzie Hornikel 1)

South Webster


Oak Hill



Date League Season
January 30, 2020 SEO 2019-20

Lady Pirates’ comeback falls short to Russell


Russell (KY)62Win

Lady Pirates’ comeback falls short to Russell

By Paul Boggs


IRONTON — For this season anyway, at least through the first 48 minutes they played there, the iron at Ironton High School’s Conley Center was unkind to the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates.

That said, in the end, if only the Lady Pirates could have —or would have — shot in the first half like they did in the second on Saturday against the Russell (Ky.) Lady Red Devils.

That’s because Wheelersburg fell behind by as much as 26 points twice in the third quarter, only to furiously storm back and finally — and miraculously — get to within four points with only five seconds remaining, before falling 62-57 to Russell as part of the annual Tackett’s Body Shop Shootout at Ironton High School.

For the Lady Pirates, they have 17 victories on the season — en route to earning a share of the Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship, and being ranked seventh for the second consecutive week in the Associated Press Ohio High School girls basketball Division III poll.

But Wheelersburg’s only now two setbacks have come inside Ironton’s Conley Center, as the Lady Pirates shot just 3-of-20 from three-point range — en route to losing at Ironton 46-43 back on Dec. 30.

Now indeed Ironton is a good defensive team, and so is the now 16-6 Lady Red Devils, which forced Wheelersburg into 5-of-22 (23-percent) first-half shooting — including 1-of-9 (11-percent) from three-point land.

They also turned the Lady Pirates over a dozen times, which is out of character for Wheelersburg, especially given how smooth — and so often — it executes its half-court dribble-drive and kick-out oriented offense.

Combine that with Russell shooting 15-of-25 from the field in the opening half for a sizzling 60-percent, including 13-of-19 from inside the arc for a fiery 68-percent against the smaller Lady Pirates, and Wheelersburg was down by as much as 45-19 and 48-22 midway through the third quarter.

Russell had amassed 19 points apiece in each of the opening two periods, and another 10 markers through the first four minutes of the third.

However, in a dramatic tale of two halves — or actually the final 11 minutes and 13 seconds to be precise — Wheelersburg began to catch fire from the field, and outscored the Lady Red Devils 35-14 over that same span.

The Lady Pirates popped five second-half three-pointers, spearheaded by 13 second-half points from Alaina Keeney and another dozen from freshman Makenna Walker —and ultimately erased the 26-point deficit down to just four at 61-57 with five seconds remaining.

But Kaeli Ross, who was named Russell’s Most Outstanding Player and who poured in a game-high 21 points on seven total field goals and 3-of-4 free throws, registered the second of a double-bonus foul-shot situation to make it 62-57 with just three seconds to play.

Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said he was plenty proud of his Lady Pirates for charging back, but wishes — of course — the first 20 minutes had played out differently.

“I honestly didn’t think our energy was very good in the first half. When you are not making shots and then you have somebody else who is making shots, there were times it was just way too easy for them (Red Devils). Some of that is how good they are, and some of that is we have to be better defensively. But I give our kids credit for crawling right back into the game when they could have folded,” said Spradlin. “We just didn’t play with any kind of urgency in that first half. In the second half, we played with all kinds of urgency, but there was nothing else to do at that point.”

After trailing 2-0 on a Kaylee Darnell basket just 46 seconds in and then again at 5-2 on Keeney canning a three-pointer on the next Lady Pirate possession at the 6:50 mark, the Lady Red Devils —one of the top programs in Kentucky’s 16th District —didn’t allow another field goal for the next nine-and-a-half minutes.

In fact, the only Lady Pirate points over that span were a pair of Darnell free throws at the 1:47 mark of the opening quarter.

By then, the experienced and speedy Lady Red Devils —which featured three frontcourt starters at each six-foot tall combined with the 5-9 senior Ross and eighth-grade sensation Shaelyn Steele — dialed up 10 consecutive points to lead 15-7.

Speaking of 15-7, that was the total in which Wheelersburg was outrebounded by Russell in the opening half —in which it trailed 19-7 after the first quarter and 38-15 at halftime.

Ross — who rained in four of the Lady Red Devils’ six three-point goals including a key one in the fourth quarter to temporarily trip up the Lady Pirates’ remarkable rally — recorded her second three with 21 seconds left in the second stanza for Russell’s largest lead by that point.

Ross amounted 14 first-half points, including her three-pointer that tied it at 5-5, as Steele scored 12 in the first 16 minutes —part of 18 for the entire game on seven total field goals and 3-of-7 free throws.

“They have size underneath, they have a really good point guard (Steele) in the eighth-grader, they have another shooter (Ross). There are a lot of matchup troubles with them,” said Spradlin. “When you help off too much on the point guard, you’re giving the post player a layup and you have another shooter that you have to worry about who can score off the catch or the drive.”

The Lady Red Devils’ lead soon swelled to 45-19 on Ross’ third-quarter three, followed by Bella Quinn connecting on her trifecta for the 48-22 advantage.

But Wheelersburg’s Walker and Ellie Kallner countered with threes to make it 48-31, as the Lady Pirates trailed 48-33 following three.

The Lady Red Devils’ only other points of the period were a Kate Ruggles basket and two free throws from Aubrey Hill, who had 10 first-half points on four first-quarter field goals and 2-of-2 second-quarter foul shots.

Walker, who was named Wheelersburg’s MOP with 14 points on five total field goals and 3-of-3 freebies, drove in for an old-fashioned thee-point play to make it 48-36 with 6:34 remaining — followed by Keeney converting another three for a 50-39 deficit 56 seconds later.

Keeney and Darnell delivered a team-high 15 points apiece, and sandwiched a Lady Pirate pair of triples around Ross’ for Russell for a pair of nine-point (55-46 and 58-49) deficits.

Steele scored at the two-minute mark to make it 60-51, but the Lady Red Devils didn’t make their free throws in the fourth —meshing just 4-of-10 after opening the first three quarters 8-of-8.

Ross, however, hit her second attempt with only three tics to go —making it 62-57 and the Lady Pirates unable to charge back any further.

The end also kept Darnell from scoring her 1,000th career point on Saturday, as she sits just two points shy of the milestone — and will most likely get it early on Monday night in the Lady Pirates’ SOC II tilt against Eastern.

Russell held her to only 4-of-18 shooting, but she sank a perfect 6-of-6 free throws — part of 9-of-10 for Wheelersburg as a team.

Both clubs attempted 52 total field goals and drilled six threes, but Wheelersburg took 21 tries (29-percent) — while Russell only attempted a dozen (50-percent) from deep.

The Lady Pirates posted a 48-percent shooting clip from two-point range on 15-of-31, while Russell shot 40-percent (16-of-40) from inside the arc.

Kallner chipped in two deuces in addition to her trey for seven points, as she also led Wheelersburg with eight rebounds —  and dished out eight assists.

Lexie Rucker in the second quarter, and Macee Eaton and Brittani Wolfenbarker in the third, added a basket apiece for the Lady Pirates.

Spradlin said his squad put forth a “fantastic effort” in the second half.

“I like to play teams that are good and see what we have to work on. We obviously shot the ball better in the second half, but it’s funny how those things happen. We always talk about how those things are contagious,” he said. “The good body language is contagious and the bad body language is contagious. In the first half, we felt a little sorry for ourselves because they were making shots and we weren’t. It’s so easy to get down on yourself. Our effort and body language was so much better in the second half, and it seemed like our shooting came along with that.”

The Lady Pirates, as aforementioned, play on Monday night against visiting Eastern —with an opportunity to lock up the SOC II championship outright.

At least, with three regular-season tilts to go, Wheelersburg won’t be returning to Ironton this season — where the iron was indeed unkind.

* * *

Russell 19 19 10 14 — 62

Wheelersburg 7 8 18 24—57

RUSSELL 62 (16-6)

Shaelyn Steele 7 3-7 18, Bella Quinn 1 0-0 3, Kaeli Ross 7 3-4 21, Malia Blevins 2 2-3 6, Kate Ruggles 1 0-0 2, Campbell Jachimczuk 0 0-0 0, Aubrey Hill 4 4-4 12; TOTALS 22 12-18 62; Three-point goals: 6 (Kaeli Ross 4, Shaelyn Steele and Bella Quinn 1 apiece)


Lauren Jolly 0 0-0 0, Brittani Wolfenbarker 1 0-0 2, Lani Irwin 0 0-0 0, Alaina Keeney 6 0-0 15, Ellie Kallner 3 0-0 7, Kaylee Darnell 4 6-6 15, Makenna Walker 5 3-3 14, Lexie Rucker 1 0-0 2, Macee Eaton 1 0-1 2; TOTALS 21 9-10 57; Three-point goals: 6 (Alaina Keeney 3, Ellie Kallner, Kaylee Darnell and Makenna Walker 1 apiece)

Russell (KY)





Date League Season
February 1, 2020 SEO 2019-20



WHEELERSBURG — Indeed, Wheelersburg’s Alli McQuay can’t complain

WHEELERSBURG — Indeed, Wheelersburg’s Alli McQuay can’t complain.

Already a regional champion with her Lady Pirate teammates, and individually a Division III first-team all-Ohioan, McQuay continues to make positive headlines in her outstanding volleyball career.

While Wheelersburg’s chapter came to an end with a state tournament berth, her latest narrative started officially on Wednesday morning —when McQuay announced her intention to play college volleyball with the close-to-home Shawnee State University Bears.

McQuay’s signing ceremony took place at Wheelersburg High School, as she was flanked by her parents Rob and Cindy McQuay; Wheelersburg High School head volleyball coach Allen Perry, Shawnee State University assistant volleyball coach Devan Scarberry; her Lady Pirate teammates and several other family members and friends.

Last season, the five-foot 10-inch middle hitter McQuay —and fellow senior Mallory Bergan —co-captained the Lady Pirates all the way to the program’s first-ever regional championship in the sport.

In addition, by being named the District 14 Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year, McQuay captured first-team all-Ohio honors.

She now becomes a Bear, but more importantly continues playing for four more years the sport she simply loves.

“Four more years of the sport I love to do. I’m very excited about it,” said McQuay.

She should be, as Shawnee State is roughly 20 minutes from Wheelersburg —and remaining nearby for her family and friends to watch her play was important.

The Bears are an NAIA Division I program, although they are currently interviewing and continuing the hiring process for a new head coach.

Susan Shelton, the coach of the past nine seasons, resigned f0llowing the 2019 campaign.

The Scioto County native Scarberry, who served as Shelton’s assistant for five years, remains on the staff —and naturally has been heavily involved in the recruitment of McQuay.

Although, McQuay said she wanted to stay home —and go far.

“I knew I didn’t want to go far for school, and so I’ve been talking to programs and probably the farthest is like three hours away. I just kept narrowing it down and narrowing it down, and Shawnee is really just a good fit,” she said. “I’m not going to have any debt, it’s close to home, I can run up to church on Sundays and my family is around.”

Volleyball began at Wheelersburg High for McQuay as — in fact — a family affair, as her sister was a Pirate senior when she was a freshman.

She played primarily in a reserve role that year, but still saw 72 sets worth of match action.

In her final three seasons, as Perry took over the program in McQuay’s sophomore year, the Lady Pirates captured the Division III Southeast District championship —with her senior season co-captaining along with Bergan.

“I loved playing here at Wheelersburg,” said McQuay. “My sophomore year, were really started to get better and explode. We won districts and made it to the regionals, but we didn’t do anything and got swept. But this year, we just said we’re making it.”

Did the Lady Pirates ever.

This year, Wheelersburg rolled to another Southern Ohio Conference Division II title, and went a perfect 22-0 in the regular season — without losing even an entire set in 61 sets played.

“At team camp, we hadn’t had any practices, and we were looking so good. We just told ourselves that we’re going to do it. We came and worked hard every day, and just had that mindset that nothing was going to stop us,” said McQuay.

Of course, that consecutive sets won streak is a program record —as the Lady Pirates played exactly 73 sets before finally losing one, or actually the first two, in the regional championship match against Hiland.

“It’s just really cool to say we did that. Not many teams across the country can say they won 73 sets in a row,” said McQuay. “It just kept our momentum rolling and we kept telling ourselves that streak is not going to end. And even when it did end, we said our season is not over. We still have some time.”

Indeed, as Yogi Berra would say, it isn’t over until it’s over.

That’s because in absolutely epic, unbelievable and miraculous fashion — and even facing match point by the Hawks in the third game — Wheelersburg avoided elimination by scoring the final three points to stunningly win that set 26-24.

The Lady Pirates then won the fourth set 25-20, and simply dominated the fifth and decisive set 15-5 to punch their ticket to their history-making — yet coveted — state tournament.

“We just worked hard and believed we were going to do that (advance to state). As a senior and as a co-captain, I wanted to go. I did NOT want to lose,” said McQuay.

The Lady Pirates finished 27-1 in 2019 — after also going 22-0 in the regular season the year before, while finishing 26-1 and losing to state power Tuscarawas Valley in the regional final.

McQuay’s career ended at Wheelersburg with her amassing 791 kills in 315 sets played.

She played in at least 72 sets all four years, while consistently recording 268 kills as a sophomore, 255 as a junior and 254 as a senior.

She also had at least 577 attacks over those final three seasons, including 633 as a junior.

Her hitting percentage for her career was .302, as she also collected 134 blocks including 40 solo —and served up 151 aces.

Perry praised McQuay’s work ethic and commitment to the sport — and said she was the Lady Pirates’ “go-to” gal.

“Alli is a hard worker, she studies the game, and is just very dedicated to the game. I couldn’t be more proud of her than today,” said the coach. “As a sophomore, when I took over the program, she was already well-trained. She had played for club teams and stuff like that for so long, so her game was well-developed. Just her maturity as a player developed for three years. She developed into a great court leader, and someone whom we looked for when we needed that crunch point. She was clutch. Anytime that we were struggling, we would look for her. She is just a smart player, she can put the ball down and get us a point. There were a lot of schools looking at her, but I’m just excited for her to be able to play at Shawnee State for herself. I know she wanted to be there.”

McQuay said she will be a right-side hitter at the collegiate level, and expressed a desire to improve upon her overall strength.

“I just need to get stronger all around. That will significantly help my play,” she said. “And I’m going to outwork everyone until I make it on the court.”

She said she is undecided upon a major, but knows she wanted to be a Bear.

Indeed, it’s Shawnee State all the way for McQuay —just the latest positive vibe in her decorated career.

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



Keeney, Lady Pirates chop down Oaks


Oak Hill40Loss

Keeney, Lady Pirates chop down Oaks

“Burg hits 10 3s in 58-40 win

By Paul Boggs


WHEELERSBURG — Usually, any game against the tradition-rich Oak Hill Lady Oaks is a “big” one —and not exactly a “trap” matchup.

But on Monday night, ahead of Thursday night’s massive encore against visiting Northwest, the host Wheelersburg Lady Pirates played the Lady Oaks in what amounted to that “trap” tilt for the Orange and Black.

However, no worries for Alaina Keeney and her Lady Pirate company, as Wheelersburg avoided any traps — or speedbumps —on its road to meeting the Lady Mohawks.

That’s because Keeney canned half of the Lady Pirates’ 10 three-point goals, Kaylee Darnell drained four herself, and Wheelersburg rolled to a 58-40 Southern Ohio Conference Division II victory and completed the season sweep of Oak Hill.

“Teams are going to try and do different things against us the second time around, but it was another great effort by our kids where we did a lot of good things again,” said Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin. “Overall, another good win in the SOC II to keep us plugging along here.”

The Lady Oaks’ only lead was at 2-0 just 15 seconds in, as the Lady Pirates reeled off the next 10 points over the next three minutes — and Wheelersburg began to bomb away from three-point land en route to the runaway win.

The Lady Oaks only got to within 10-4 in the opening quarter and 17-12 in the second on a Baylee Howell three-pointer, as it was Wheelersburg unleashing a fury of threes over a span of 16 minutes.

Against Oak Hill’s zone or junk defenses, the Lady Pirates popped 10 total trifectas —five from Keeney towards her game-high 19 points, four from Darnell towards her 16 points, and one from Ellie Kallner which made it 8-2 early in the first quarter.

“That’s where the good ball movement and unselfish play comes in,” said Spradlin. “Alaina (Keeney) really made them pay. Last game, it was Ellie (Kallner) which made West pay. Tonight, Oak Hill tried to guard three of our kids (Keeney, Kallner and Darnell) and put two others in the paint. It’s important for us to be ready for those things, make good decisions and make sure we get good shots every trip.”

With the victory, the Lady Pirates —the defending SOC II champions and current league leaders — raised their stellar record to 14-1, and are now 11-0 in the division.

They also cleared the way for Thursday’s SOC II bout against Northwest, which is 11-1 in the league (16-1 overall) —as Wheelersburg won 44-35 at Northwest on Dec. 12 for the Lady Mohawks’ only loss.

More on that one in a bit.

Typically, a meeting with the Mohawks might serve as a “trap” for the Lady Pirates — in anticipation with a showdown against Oak Hill, one of the most successful girls basketball programs in Ohio under veteran head coach Doug Hale.

The Lady Oaks, in addition to several times taking the SOC II title, are the three-time Division III state runners-up (2004, 2009 and 2011).

But this season, Oak Hill has been up-and-down —and fell to 10-7 and 7-5 in the SOC II.

Wheelersburg completed the season sweep, as the Lady Pirates captured a 49-34 victory at Oak Hill on Dec. 9.

They didn’t make 10 treys that night, but Wheelersburg’s excellent ball movement had the Lady Oaks chasing on Monday —and often times the Lady Pirates’ three-ball attempts were wide open.

Wheelersburg attempted 29 threes, so while their 34-percent from beyond the arc might not sound the greatest, the 30 points off those 10 certainly does.

Keeney connected for the opening three followed by Kallner, as Keeney’s second splash from distance made it 13-4 halfway through the first period.

In the second stanza, Darnell drained one at the five-minute mark to immediately answer Howell hitting hers only 40 seconds earlier, as Oak Hill was never within eight the remainder of the way.

In fact, Keeney’s corner-pocket shot secured a double-digit advantage at 25-14, as the Lady Pirates never allowed their lead to dip into single digits for the final 19 minutes and 40 seconds.

Keeney’s fourth three made it 32-18 for the Lady Pirates’ largest first-half margin with 1:23 remaining, as the five-foot nine-inch sophomore scored 14 of her 19 in the opening half.

But Wheelersburg wasn’t done dialing in from deep.

Keeney, from the top of the key on the opening possession of the third quarter, connected again —before three more from Darnell upped the advantage to the Lady Pirates’ largest margin each time (40-23, 43-23 and 46-25).

Wheelersburg held a commanding 50-32 advantage following the third frame, as both squads scored eight points in the fourth for the 58-40 final score.

Spradlin said the Lady Pirates’ rebounding ability, especially offensively, allowed for extra opportunities behind the three-point line.

Some of the rebounds went long, where Wheelersburg’s guards —Lani Irwin and Lauren Jolly —just gathered up the ball and kicked out to either Keeney, Kallner or Darnell.

Wheelersburg outrebounded Oak Hill 12-5 in the first quarter alone to set the tone, and had some possessions of two, three or even four offensive boards.

“We don’t have a true post player, so we try to rebound with our speed and our athleticism,” said Spradlin. “We get Lani (Irwin) and Lauren (Jolly) gravitating to the ball a lot of times. And when they get it, they are really good about getting it out to open shooters. Alaina made a couple of hers off those. “

Macee Eaton netted nine points for the Lady Pirates on two field goals and 5-of-6 free throws, while Kallner, Jolly, Irwin, Makenna Walker and Lexie Rucker recorded a two-point goal apiece.

Brittani Wolfenbarker, by splitting a pair of fourth-quarter foul shots, rounded out the Wheelersburg scoring.

Caitlyn Brisker, the Lady Oaks’ senior standout, bagged a team-high 18 points on four total field goals and 9-of-11 free throws.

She sank a three-pointer in the second quarter, as all 18 of her markers came over the final three periods.

Spradlin said it was important for the Lady Pirates not to let Brisker get going early.

“She (Brisker) is a tough matchup. She is so physical and so athletic. We try to put different people on her, and when she is knocking down that three, it makes her even harder to guard,” he said. “Doug (Hale) is putting her in positions to where she can get to the basket with some of the ball-screens. I thought we did a pretty good job, for the most part, to holding her to 18 and them to 40.”

Oak Hill, which only played seven players and was without Peyton Miller once again with a broken nose, had eight points on four field goals from Chloe Chambers — and six first-quarter baskets by Olivia Clarkson for six.

Oak Hill hosts Waverly on Thursday, while Wheelersburg welcomes Northwest with first-place in the SOC II at stake.

The Lady Mohawks have won several close encounters on the road —including at Oak Hill, Waverly and Minford.

Northwest will be taller and longer than the Lady Pirates, so first and foremost —Spradlin said —rebounding will be a focus.

“We’re going to have to rebound the ball really well, and not just in stretches like we did tonight, to compensate for their length and athleticism,” he said. “Hopefully, we get some great efforts and everybody hitting on all cylinders offensively on the same night.”

Indeed, Thursday’s affair is a “big” game — as the Lady Pirates avoided the Lady Oaks’ “trap” on Monday night.

“Northwest has the one loss to us, they’ve won a lot of close ballgames, and I expect Thursday to be a close ballgame,” said Spradlin. “Two good teams fighting for first-place in the conference. What else can you ask for?”

* * *

Oak Hill 8 15 9 8 — 40

Wheelersburg 15 19 16 8 — 58

OAK HILL 40 (10-7, 7-5 SOC II)

Baylee Howell 1 0-0 3, Tamron McCain 0 1-2 1, Chloe Chambers 4 0-0 8, Caitlyn Brisker 4 9-11 18, Baylee Howard 0 0-0 0, Brooke Howard 1 2-2 4, Olivia Clarkson 3 0-0 6; TOTALS 13 12-15 40; Three-point goals: 2 (Baylee Howell and Caitlyn Brisker 1 apiece)

WHEELERSBURG 58 (14-1, 11-0 SOC II)

Lauren Jolly 1 0-0 2, Brittani Wolfenbarker 0 1-2 1, Lani Irwin 1 0-0 2, Alaina Keeney 7 0-0 19, Ellie Kallner 2 0-1 5, Kaylee Darnell 5 2-4 16, Makenna Walker 1 0-0 2, Lexie Walker 1 0-0 2, Macee Eaton 2 5-6 9; TOTALS 20 8-13 58; Three-point goals: 10 (Alaina Keeney 5, Kaylee Darnell 4, Ellie Kallner 1)


# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Brittani Wolfenbarker-10000
Lani Irwin-20000
Lexie Rucker-20000
Makenna Walker-20000
Macee Eaton-90000
Kaylee Darnell-160000
Alaina Keeney-190000
Ellie Kallner-50000
Lauren Jolly-20000
 Total 580000

Oak Hill

# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Tamron McCain-10000
Chloe Chambers-80000
Brooke Howard-40000
Caitlyn Brisker2020180000
Baylee Howell-30000
Peyton Miller-00000
Olivia Clarkson-60000
 Total 400000


Date League Season
January 20, 2020 SEO 2019-20



Lady Oaks win over Minford in SOC II


Oak Hill49Win

Lady Oaks win over Minford in SOC II

By Paul Boggs


OAK HILL — Minford girls basketball coach Shane Davis had almost the exact same postgame media conversation as a week ago.

Once again, his Lady Falcons were right there on the cusp of a Southern Ohio Conference Division II victory —trailing most of the way before rallying back in the final quarter, but unfortunately not executing in the clutch and coming up just short.

On Monday night, at Oak Hill High School, the Lady Falcons rallied back from an 11-point deficit to the host Lady Oaks —only to lose to Oak Hill 49-46 thanks to turnovers, missed shots and ultimately missed free throws.

The Lady Falcons forged five-point leads of 5-0 and 7-2 in the opening three minutes and 38 seconds, but trailed — or at best tied — for the game’s final 25-and-a-half minutes.

Minford’s definite downfall was its third quarter, in which it scored just four points —and as a result fell behind by 11 points (41-30) for the final 67 seconds.

In the fourth frame, Minford made its comeback by doubling up the Lady Oaks 16-8, including a 12-2 run to open the quarter — and trail 43-42 with just 3:36 to play.

But the Lady Falcons missed five free throws in the fourth and seven for the second half, as one miss would have tied the tilt — while three others would have reduced the deficit to one.

Instead, and speaking of free throws, Oak Hill senior standout Caitlyn Brisker bagged 4-of-6 foul shots in the final minute and nine seconds — with all four coming consecutive to make it a 48-44 Lady Oaks’ lead with just 21 tics to play.

The loss dropped the Lady Falcons to 6-8 and 4-5 in the SOC II, as Davis discussed another frustrating defeat afterwards —similar to what he did after last Monday’s 45-38 home loss against Northwest.

In that affair, Minford made a comeback all the way to a one-point deficit, but — like at Oak Hill — could never gain the lead late.

The Lady Oaks — now 8-6 and 6-4 in the division —completed the season sweep of the Lady Falcons, after winning the first matchup between the two teams in Minford on Dec. 2.

“We had this conversation a week ago. We battled, we’re right there. But we didn’t execute again in the same situations like last week with Northwest,” said Davis. “We missed some shots, we had some turnovers at the wrong times, and missed foul shots that obviously made a difference. If we could have gotten the lead, I think we would have won. The girls give great effort, and I never question that. I mean we are right there. Just have to execute better.”

That included on the final possession, when Brisker made the first free throw but missed the second of a one-and-one situation — and Hannah Tolle grabbed the rebound for the Lady Falcons.

But Minford never got a shot off, as a pass from half-court into the front-court sailed out of bounds as time ran out.

The statistics were indeed close, as Minford shot 36-percent on 13-of-36 while Oak Hill hit for 40-percent on 17-of-43.

Both clubs also recorded 30 rebounds, as the Lady Falcons committed 15 turnovers compared to 14 for the Lady Oaks.

However, free throws were a major issue for Minford —despite making (18) more than the Lady Oaks even attempted (15).

The Lady Falcons tried 27, while Oak Hill made good on 11 —including 4-of-4 in the first half towards a 29-26 halftime advantage.

Brisker, with her game-high 20 points that included six field goals, bucketed 8-of-10 charity tosses —including 6-of-8 in the second half.

None, of course, were bigger than her four straight fourth-quarter makes which made it 48-44.

With Oak Hill leading 45-43, she split a pair of a two-shot situation, then made both of the one-and-one bonus with 21 seconds left —after the Lady Falcons fouled three consecutive times to put the Lady Oaks at the line.

After Minford’s Maddie Slusher sank two freebies with nine seconds left, Brisker split another pair just three seconds later for the 49-46 lead.

“We got to the foul line late in the fourth quarter and made our foul shots this time, which we didn’t at Northwest,” said Oak Hill head coach Doug Hale.

Hale, who has over 500 career coaching victories, captured his 500th all-time win almost a year to the day a year ago — by defeating the visiting Lady Falcons on Jan. 17, 2019.

But Monday night’s triumph was important for the Jackson Countians, which bounced back from a 36-30 loss at Northwest on Thursday (Jan. 9) — that basically ended their hopes of chasing down league-leader Wheelersburg in the SOC II championship race.

“A big win for the Lady Oaks tonight,” said Hale. “Against Northwest, I thought our effort and our defensive attitude was good, but we just couldn’t make shots. We battled with a really good Minford team tonight, and we knew coming in that it was going to be a battle. I was proud of them that we had the lead in the fourth quarter, Minford took a big punch at us and we held them off, then we punched back at the end.”

The Lady Falcons had to fire back in the fourth —thanks to their third quarter which produced only four points by Tolle on a basket at the 5:25 mark and two free throws just three minutes and five seconds later.

Minford endured two scoring droughts in the canto of at least two minutes and 35 seconds.

Meanwhile, Oak Hill scored the opening seven points of the period — on a Chloe Chambers rebound putback, an Olivia Clarkson corner-pocket three-pointer, and two Brisker free throws.

“The third quarter killed us again,” said Davis. “That was the difference.”

But the fourth quarter featured a Lady Falcons’ rally, as Tolle tallied three straight field goals and Livi Shonkwiler scored five points — including a steal and layup and 3-of-5 foul shots to get within 43-42.

Brisker’s basket immediately answered just 21 seconds later, as Tolle twice split a pair of free throws for 45-43 (2:13 left) and 46-44 (52 seconds left) deficits.

Tolle paced the Lady Falcons with 15 points on five field goals and 5-of-8 free throws, as she scored a dozen in the second half.

Shonkwiler followed closely with 13 points —on four baskets and 5-of-7 foul shots —while Slusher and Makayla Watters added eight points apiece.

Slusher swished two first-half three-pointers for Minford’s only triples, while Watters went 4-of-4 at the stripe along with two buckets in the first half.

Makayla Watters was 2-of-4 at the line.

Slusher’s first three gave the Lady Falcons an early 5-0 advantage just two minutes and five seconds in, as her second trifecta got the guests within three (29-26) at halftime.

In between, the Lady Oaks outscored Minford 29-18, as Brisker scored eight first-quarter points —including a long pull-up two-pointer that capped an 11-4 run to give Oak Hill the lead with a minute-and-a-half left.

The Lady Oaks’ role players backed Brisker up, and that included with Peyton Miller out injured with a broken nose.

In the first half, Brooke Howard had an old-fashioned three-point play and three-point goal, Baylee Howell hit two treys, and six-foot center Chloe Chambers combined for 10 points — in the middle two quarters —on four field goals and 2-of-3 free throws.

There were three ties at 9-9, 11-11 and 14-14, as Brisker’s only points in the second stanza — a field goal only a minute and three seconds in —gave the Lady Oaks the lead for good.

“When they guarded Caitlyn (Brisker) the way they did, we handled that and other players stepped up. Brooke Howard did, Baylee Howell hit a couple of threes, Chloe (Chambers) made some shots around the bucket, and Liv (Olivia Clarkson) battled in there and got a few shots,” said Hale.

Oak Hill held leads ranging from two-to-six points in the second quarter, before extending the advantage to 41-30 following the third.

Minford made its comeback in the fourth, but the end result only led to Davis’ discussion afterwards —which was basically a duplicate from last Monday.

“Same conversation. We’re right there. There were some girls crying in the locker-room. They really wanted to win this game and believed we would win this game,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but we’re very close to getting over the hump.”

* * *

Minford 12 14 4 16 — 46

Oak Hill 14 15 12 8— 49

MINFORD 46 (6-8, 4-5 SOC II)

Ally Coriell 0 0-0 0, Makayla Watters o 2-4 2, Makenzie Watters 2 4-4 8, Livi Shonkwiler 4 5-7 13, Maddie Slusher 2 2-4 8, Hannah Tolle 5 5-8 15, Micah Thacker 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 13 18-27 46 ; Three-point goals: 2 (Maddie Slusher 2)

OAK HILL 49 (8-6, 6-4 SOC II)

Baylee Howell 2 0-0 6,Chloe Chambers 4 2-3 10, Caitlyn Brisker 6 8-10 20, Baylee Howard 0 0-0 0, Brooke Howard 3 1-2 8, Olivia Clarkson 2 0-0 5; TOTALS 17 11-15 49; Three-point goals: 4 (Baylee Howell 2, Brooke Howard and Olivia Clarkson 1 apiece)

Oak Hill





Date League Season
January 13, 2020 SEO 2019-20


Oak Hill

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



‘Burg hits 11 3s in rout of Vikings


Vinton County47Loss

‘Burg hits 11 3s in rout of Vikings

WHEELERSBURG — What a difference a week, and even a year, makes.

Only a week ago in the Lady Pirates’ loss at Ironton, Wheelersburg went 3-of-20 from three-point range en route to falling 46-43 — as exactly a year ago Vinton County erupted for 14 threes in its runaway victory over the visiting Lady Pirates.

However, in Saturday night’s non-league return tilt against the visiting Lady Vikings, Wheelersburg went off for its own measure of revenge against Vinton County.

That’s because the Lady Pirates pumped in 11 three-point goals —five in the opening half and six in the red-hot third quarter —as Wheelersburg rebounded nicely with an important, and impressive, 64-47 win over Vinton County at an amped-up Wheelersburg High School.

The Lady Pirates — a Division III Southeastern Ohio power — are now 10-1, while the talented and highly-touted Division II Lady Vikings fell to 10-2.

Vinton County’s lone loss, prior to Saturday night, was a 77-40 setback at Division I powerhouse Newark.

But like that contest for the Lady Vikings, Wheelersburg was making shots —three-pointers to be exact —while Vinton County was not.

The Lady Pirates’ 11 made-threes were on 16 attempts — which is a sizzling 69-percent when translated to commonly-used percentages.

Wheelersburg’s five first-half threes spearheaded it to a pair of five-point leads at 20-15 and 25-20, as the Lady Pirates’ largest first-half advantage stood as its halftime edge of 29-22.

In the third quarter, Wheelersburg went near-nuclear on the Lady Vikings, splashing six trifectas on seven attempts over the eight-minute canto.

The Lady Pirates ballooned their advantage to 51-29 with 1:42 remaining, and — despite Vinton County being in the free-throw bonus situation for the entire fourth period — Wheelersburg withstood the Lady Vikings’ comeback bid over the final nine-and-a-half minutes.

Obviously, and as Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin discussed, Saturday night was all about the Lady Pirates putting up three-pointers —and making them.

That was, of course, something they didn’t do at Ironton (9-1).

“The story of the game was we made 11 3s. It’s just hard for a team to overcome that. They (Lady Vikings) did it to us last year. We had five kids hit them, and when we get that good ball movement and those kids hitting those open shots, it’s all great,” said Spradlin. “When shots go in, everything else looks good. We’re a perimeter team, and making 3-of-20 from the arc isn’t good enough to beat good teams. I didn’t know we were going to make 11 like we did tonight, but it’s what we have to do to be successful. We have to take those shots when we are open. We had a lot of kids step up and play really hard, and I thought the ball movement was really good.”

Kaylee Darnell and Ellie Kallner canned three threes, Alaina Keeney and Brittani Wolfenbarker bagged two apiece, and Makenna Walker hit hers with three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third for a 46-28 Wheelersburg lead.

Darnell, as she often does, dropped in a game-high in points —22 to be exact on seven total field goals and 5-of-6 free throws.

It was the fifth game this season in which the junior and returning first-team all-Southeast District Division III honoree has scored at least 21 points —and the seventh affair in which she has scored at least 15.

Not to be outdone was the fellow junior Kallner, who chipped in five field goals and 5-of-9 fourth-quarter free throws for 18 points.

Keeney connected on two deuces and two treys for 10 points —as her triples got the Lady Pirates on the board at 5-3 and ahead for good at 17-15.

The Lady Pirates, following the fifth lead change, never trailed for the final 21 minutes and 15 seconds —as there was one tie at 20-20 just two minutes before halftime.

But while Wheelersburg was making its shots, which included 9-of-20 from inside the arc for 45-percent towards 20-of-36 overall for 56-percent, the Lady Vikings of head coach Rod Bentley were not.

Vinton County, often “a live-by or die-by” the three-ball club, could only account for two threes on 18 attempts —which is only an ice-cold 11-percent.

The Lady Vikings, whose only threes were in the third quarter by Tegan Bartoe at the 4:53 mark and Rylee Ousley with exactly a minute-and-a-half remaining, shot just 30-percent on 14-of-47.

It’s a different contest, and outcome, of course when you’re not making shots.

“Vinton County has a ton of weapons, and we saw it last year when they hit 14 threes against us in their gym. They made just two tonight and I don’t know how many they took, but they just struggled to make those like we did at Ironton,” said Spradlin.

Four Lady Vikings reached double figures, paced by junior Morgan Bentley, the coach’s daughter and team’s top player.

Bentley is a frontrunner for the Southeast District Division II Player of the Year honor, and led the Lady Vikings with 15 points.

She, Cameron Zinn (12 points) and Josie Ousley (10 points) finished with four field goals apiece, as Bentley was 7-of-13 at the line — while Zinn was 4-of-5 and Ousley 2-of-4.

Bartoe was 3-of-6 at the stripe, while Lacie Williams was 1-of-4 to round out the Lady Vikings’ scoring.

But when Vinton County is making many more free throws (17) than three-point goals (two), despite owning a size advantage over Wheelersburg, that’s a credit to the Lady Pirates’ defense for buckling down and bowing up.

Spradlin said the physicality of which Ironton played with in turn aided the hosts on Saturday.

“Honestly, in a lot of ways, I think the Ironton game really helped us with this game tonight. It was very similar as far as how physical it was. Coach Bentley’s daughter (Morgan Bentley) can go inside-out and they have other kids that drive the lane really hard. We tried to battle them and make it as tough as we could. We really competed hard on the glass,” said the coach. “It’s a tough matchup for us with their size advantage and with the strength that they have. I thought all of our kids that played played really hard.”

Playing hard, and making threes.

The Lady Vikings —with three baskets by Ousley in the opening four minutes and 43 seconds — raced out to leads of 5-0 and 7-3, sandwiched around Keeney’s first three.

But Wheelersburg went ahead 10-9 on the first of Wolfenbarker’s two triples at the 1:17 mark of the first quarter —and only trailed 11-10 and 15-14 following that.

From there, Keeney and Kallner connected on back-to-back threes for a 20-15 advantage — followed almost four full minutes later by Darnell’s first three with 52 seconds left before halftime.

In the third quarter, Darnell needed only one possession for her second trey and a double-digit advantage at 32-22, as Kallner’s second three made it 35-23 only a minute and three seconds in.

The Lady Pirates led by at least 10 points for the final 14 minutes and 50 seconds, as a Darnell drive made it 37-25 at the 6:05 point.

Kallner, Darnell, Walker and Wolfenbarker then drained a three apiece in a matter of two minutes and 10 seconds, as Kallner converted a two-pointer to make it 51-29 at the 1:42 mark.

The Lady Vikings scored the final seven points of the period, but got no closer than 13 points at 52-39 over the final six minutes and five seconds —and the final 11 minutes and 55 seconds.

In the fourth quarter, Kallner converted her 5-of-9 free throws, Darnell split a pair of foul shots, and Macee Eaton added a freebie.

Wheelersburg was 13-of-20 at the free-throw line, including a pair of makes by Walker and Darnell in the second stanza —and a pair of tosses by Darnell in the first.

Speaking of the first, Vinton County suffered a serious injury loss late in the quarter, when junior point guard Myriah Davis —who missed all of last season except two games and the first three minutes of another with an ACL tear —went down with the same injured knee.

She did not return to the game — only to the bench for the final three quarters.

Still, no matter who was on the court, it was all about Wheelersburg making shots on Saturday night.

“It’s just a huge win to beat a Division II team that is a district championship-caliber club,” said Spradlin. “We said we wanted to play good competition, and it’s good to see our kids respond.”

The Lady Pirates — the defending Southern Ohio Conference Division II champions and current league leaders again at 7-0 —host South Webster on Monday night to complete the first-round of SOC II play.

* * *

Vinton County 11 11 14 11 —47

Wheelersburg 10 19 22 13 — 64


Zoey Kiefer 0 0-0 0, Emily Kight 0 0-0 0, Myriah Davis 0 0-0 0, Josie Ousley 4 2-4 10, Tegan Bartoe 1 3-6 6, Morgan Bentley 4 7-3 15, Lydia Lenegar 0 0-0 0, Lacie Williams 0 1-4 1, Cameron Zinn 4 4-5 12, Rylee Ousley 1 0-0 3; TOTALS 14 17-32 47; Three-point goals: 2 (Tegan Bartoe and Rylee Ousely 1 apiece)


Lauren Jolly 0 0-0 0, Madison Whittaker 0 0-0 0, Brittani Wolfenbarker 2 0-0 6, Lani Irwin 0 0-0 0, Alaina Keeney 4 0-0 10, Ellie Kallner 5 5-9 18, Kaylee Darnell 7 5-6 22, McKenna Walker 1 2-2 5, Lexie Rucker 0 0-0 0, Macee Eaton 1 1-3 3; TOTALS 20 13-20 64; Three-point goals: 11 (Ellie Kallner and Kaylee Darnell 3 apiece, Brittani Wolfenbarker and Alaina Keeney 2 apiece, McKenna Walker 1)



Vinton County



Date League Season
January 4, 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



Ironton over Wheelersburg slugfest



Ironton hands Lady Pirates first loss

Fighting Tigers prevail 46-43

By Paul Boggs

Photo’s by Kent Sanborn

IRONTON — Unfortunately for the Lady Pirates, the threes just weren’t falling on

Monday night like New Year’s party confetti.

As a result, Wheelersburg won’t be turning the calendar into 2020 as an undefeated

girls basketball team.

That’s because, after attempting 20 three-point shots but making just three — and

overcome by Ironton’s size, strength and length —

the Lady Pirates suffered their first loss

of the season with a narrow 46-43 defeat inside Ironton High School’s Conley Center.

Wheelersburg is now 8-1, as the Lady Pirates played their first game since Dec. 19

—after opening the season with eight games over two-and-a-half weeks.

Ironton, meanwhile, raised its record to 9-1 — with its only loss coming at Ohio Valley

Conference rival Coal Grove by a single point (52-51) in overtime.

The host Lady Fighting Tigers took to the floor just a week ago, so any “rust” from the

often-disjointed Christmas holiday schedule seemed to have less impact upon them.

In a defensive slugfest, and at a pace better suited for the half-court, the usually three-point

proficient Lady Pirates shot just 15-percent from distance —and could never get one to

fall for them at a crucial time.

None more critical than in the second half, as Wheelersburg made all three of its threes

in the first 16 minutes.

They missed all eight in the final two quarters, including six in the final stanza — with the

best look being by Kaylee Darnell with a minute-and-a-half remaining.

“We were frustrated offensively. Just with the physicality and with the way they were

guarding Kaylee (Darnell),” said Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin. “We took

some quick shots and forced some bad shots because we were trying to make a

play and get back in the game quickly. I felt like we had the mentality, especially

early, that we had to score in eight seconds. There are a lot of things we can learn

from this game, because Ironton is very good and well-coached.”

“We came up with some big defensive stops,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“They (Pirates) are a perimeter-oriented team. They play five guards and they bring somebody in off the bench

who is a guard. That’s their bread-and-butter. They are going to shoot on the

perimeter, they are going to run that dribble-drive and dribble-handoff and try to catch you sleeping and helping too much in the paint. They like

to kick it out for a step-in three. If you let them do that, they are dangerous

and can score 60 or 70 points.”

Ironton, with its height anchored by five-foot, 10-inch Lexie Arden and six-foot tall Samantha LaFon, indeed impacted the Lady Pirates’ perimeter shooting.

Ironton also played without guard Riley Schreck, who was out with an injured knee.

Wheelersburg shot 34-percent on 17-of-50, as the Lady Fighting Tigers limited Darnell — the Lady Pirates’ leading

scorer — to just eight points on 3-of-10 from the field.

“Several girls did a good job on her (Darnell). She is a tremendous player

and one of the best in the area. To hold her to eight points is a testament

to our defense,” said Graham. “Elli Williams was really tough on her for a

large part of the game. And Lexie (Arden) and Samantha (LaFon), with

their size and their athletic ability and their basketball ability, that really helped us tonight.”

But while Wheelersburg wasn’t making threes, Ironton left the door open

for the Lady Pirates by not making foul shots.

As the Fighting Tigers missed four out of five free throws over the final

five minutes, their 45-38 advantage evaporated into a 45-42 edge with

3.4 seconds left.

Rather than allow a possible made triple, the Fighting Tigers decided

to foul Darnell — who shot the one-and-one bonus situation, but had

to make the first but intentionally miss t

he second to keep the Lady Pirates’ possession for the tie or even the win.

Darnell drained the first for the 45-43 deficit, and her second

shot missed — but Arden amounted her

seventh and final rebound, and was fouled with 2.1 tics showing for

the Lady Pirates’ 10th team foul.

Arden did miss on the first of the double-bonus foul shots, but did sink

the the all-important second freebie — making it 46-43.

Ellie Kallner, who paced the Lady Pirates and all scorers with 14 points

including nine in the second quarter, launched a desperation three-quarters

court shot which fell short.

The Lady Fighting Tigers led from tipoff to final buzzer, holding a seven-point

lead on four occasions (8-1, 13-6, 16-9 and 45-38) — as the contest was

tied four times (16-16, 21-21, 23-23 and 37-37) as well.

“We have to start better. I thought we played hard, but we have to play better.

You fall behind against a good team, and usually the story is you work so

hard to try and catch up. That’s what we had to do,” said Spradlin.

“I am proud of the way we played and how we competed. But you

can’t put yourself in those situations.”

“Good teams are going make runs and Wheelersburg wasn’t going

to roll over and get beat by 20 points. Wheelersburg is a good team,

and was going to fight back from seven points down. To my girls’ credit,

we withstood some of their punches and extended the lead again,” said Graham.

Wheelersburg battled back from each seven-point deficit — relying on first-half three-pointers from Kallner, Lani Irwin and Makenna Walker — but Ironton answered with first-half trifectas from Kirsten Williams, Evan Williams, Elli Williams and Arden.

Kirsten Williams rained in two treys, as Ironton ended up making

5-of-12 from three-point range in the opening half —

part of 5-of-15 for 33-percent for the entire game.

In the second half, the Fighting Tigers maintained their lead by going 8-of-13

at the foul line — combined with tough underneath baskets

by LaFon, either on offensive putbacks or by her simply clearing out space for herself.

LaFon, who was just 2-of-7 in the first half with three fouls, finished with a double-double 13 points and a dozen rebounds — making five field goals and 3-of-4 foul shots.

Arden added 10 points on three field goals and 3-of-5 foul shots —

as she, Elli Williams and Lydia Hannan had seven rebounds apiece.

Ironton outrebounded Wheelersburg 35-26, as Alaina Keeney with

eight and Kallner with seven were the top boarders for the Lady Pirates.

“We finished the defensive possessions better by rebounding better

in the second half as opposed to the first,” said Graham.

“We weren’t getting them off the floor in the first half. I bet they had five-to-seven offensive rebounds, so that is something we wanted to correct

in the second.”

Kallner collected six total field goals and converted a fourth-quarter

free throw, as Keeney chipped in 10 points on four field goals and

2-of-2 second-stanza foul shots.

Her driving basket tied it at 37-37 with 54 seconds remaining in the

third, but Ironton opened the first five minutes of the fourth with an

8-1 run — making it a seven-point cushion for the final time at 45-38.

The Lady Pirates return to the road, and return to

Southern Ohio Conference Division II action, on Thursday night at Pike Eastern.

Wheelersburg — the defending division champion — continues

to lead the league at 6-0.

The loss at Ironton, Spradlin said, is a lesson learned.

“You either win or you learn,” he said. “The fight was good and the energy

was good, but we have to find a way to execute better.”

Ironton, on the other hand, has a happier New Year — with its victory over

the now one-loss Lady Pirates.

“These girls come in and practice hard. I’m very proud of the way they

played this game tonight,” said Graham. “It was a physical game, it was

a well-played game and all-around a great team effort.

Ironton next faces Fairland in the OVC on Monday night.

* * *

Wheelersburg 9 14 14 6 — 43

Ironton 16 10 13 7— 46


Lauren Jolly 1 1-2 3, Brittani Wolfenbarker 0 0-0 0, Lani Irwin 1 0-0 3, Alaina Keeney 4 2-2 10, Ellie Kallner 6 1-4 14, Kaylee Darnell 3 2-3 8, Makenna Walker 2 0-0 5; TOTALS 17 6-11 43; Three-point goals: 3 (Lani Irwin, Ellie Kallner and Makenna Walker 1 apiece)

IRONTON 46 (9-1)

Samantha LaFon 5 3-4 13, Lydia Hannan 1 3-4 5, Elli Williams 2 0-0 5, Kameron Arden 0 0-0 0, Kirsten Williams 2 0-0 6, Evan Williams 3 0-1 7, Lexie Arden 3 3-5 10; TOTALS 16 9-14 46; Three-point goals: 5 (Kirsten Williams 2, Elli Williams, Evan Williams and Lexie Arden 1 apiece)



# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Kameren Arden-00000
Samantha LaFon-130000
Ellie Williams-50000
Lydia Hannan-50000
Kristen Williams-60000
Evan Williams-70000
Lexi Arden-100000
 Total 460000


# Player Class PTS REB AST STL BLK
Kaylee Darnell-80000
Lani Irwin-30000
Brittani Wolfenbarker-00000
Makenna Walker-50000
Ellie Kallner-140000
Alaina Keeney-100000
Lauren Jolly-30000
 Total 430000


Date League Season
December 30, 2019 SEO 2019-20