An All-County girls basketball battle in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference took place last Thursday night, Jan. 21, at West Union High School as the Lady Dragons welcomed to town the Lady Devils from North Adams High School. After an exciting JV game that saw West Union rally from a double digit deficit for a win, the two varsity squads took the court, but there would be no miracle comebacks in the nightcap for the home team.
The Lady Devils used their intense defensive pressure to score the game’s first 14 points and never looked back from there, rolling to a 69-23 victory, their eighth in a row.
“We came out with a little energy tonight,” said North Adams head coach Rob Davis. “We’ve been stressing for our girls, like Madison Jenkins, to get aggressive in there and she did tonight, getting some offensive rebounds for us. They did a lot of doubling down inthe post and that opens up the high post area for us.”
“We have a lot of kids who can score for us when everyone is going well but we still need to work on playing with intensity for 32 minutes. Then we can compete with anybody.”
An offensive rebound and stick back by Madison Jenkins on the first North Adams possession got the early scoring parade underway and when the Lady Devils’ press resulted in baskets by Lakyn Hupp and Staci Dinsmore, the visitors had an 8-0 lead. Free throws by Hupp and Grace McDowell combined with another Dinsmore steal and score made it 14-0 with 3:46 left in the first quarter and force West Union head coach Jason Claytor to call a timeout to attempt to settle down his squad.
After the timeout, the Lady Dragons got on the board for the first time on a jumper from Shannon Runyan, but with West Union’s leading scorer Alexa Pennington relegated to the bench with two early fouls, the Lady Devils finished the first period on a 9-3 run to take a commanding 23-5 lead after eight minutes of play.
The second quarter began with West Union getting three pointers from Jaycee Baldwin and Kristen Grooms as the defense for the Lady Dragons also stepped up and allowed North Adams just 11 points. The Lady Dragons got another three-pointer late in the first half from Mikayla Akers, but still could make no headway into the North Adams lead as the halftime scoreboard saw North Adams still holding an 18-point advantage at 34-16.
The North Adams offense came alive again in the third quarter, racking up 20 points, led by two baskets each from Avery Harper and McDowell plus a three-point goal by Taylor Hesler. The entire West Union offense in the third quarter came from 5 points from Pennington as the Lady Devils stretched their lead out to a commanding 54-21.
As he has been able to do in many of his wins this season, Coach Davis freely substituted in the final eight minutes, but may not have gotten one important cog out quick enough as Staci Dinsmore suffered an ankle injury in the final period, causing her to leave the game and ultimately miss the next North Adams contest. Against the various combinations of North Adams players in the final eight minutes, the Lady Dragons managed just a single bucket, again by Pennington, as the Lady Devils cruised to a 69-23 victory, their 14th win of the 2015-16 campaign.
In the win, the Lady Devils (14-3, 10-1 SHAC) placed three players in double figures, led by Avery Harper’s 15 points. Staci Dinsmore and Lakyn Hupp added 12 each with Grace McDowell and Madison Jenkins both tossing in 9.
West Union (7-10, 2-9 SHAC) was led by 7 points from Alexa Pennington, all of the Lady Dragons’ second half scoring.
Both teams were back in action on Monday, Jan. 25 as the Lady Dragons got back on the winning track with a 55-48 conference win over Ripley, while the Lady Devils, playing without the injured Dinsmore, fell in a non-conference tilt at home to Washington 53-49 to snap their winning streak.
West Union will be in SHAC play on Jan. 28 when they host the Eastern Brown Lady Warriors, while North Adams will travel to Ripley for a conference tilt.
NAHS 23 11 20 15 —69
WUHS 5 11 5 2 —23
NAHS (69): Dinsmore 4 4-5 12, Hesler 2 0-0 5, Wylie 1 0-0 3, Hupp 3 6-6 12, Shipley 1 0-0 3, Jenkins 2 5-6 9, McDowell 3 3-4 9, Allison Harper 0 1-2 1, Avery Harper 6 3-8 15, Team 22 22-31 69.
WUHS (23): Runyan 2 0-2 4, Baldwin 1 1-2 4, Akers 1 0-2 3, Grooms 1 1-2 4, Gallowitz 0 1-2 1, Pennington 3 1-2 7, Team 8 4-13 23.
NAHS- Hesler 1, Wylie 1, Shipley 1
WUHS- Baldwin 1, Akers 1, Grooms 1