West Union offense comes alive in 79-60 win –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Behind a pair of 18-point performances by Shannon Runyan and Mackenzie Bickett, the offense of the West Union Lady Dragons exploded for 79 points last Thursday night in Manchester as the Lady Dragons led from wire to wire to win the rematch of the Dec. 29 McDonald’s Classic consolation game. In a game that featured 62 fouls and 86 free throws, West Union won the earlier meeting 48-45, and last week’s match brought 66 more attempts from the stripe and 47 fouls whistled, but it was a much sharper performance overall for the Lady Dragons as they picked up their fourth win of the season.
“Tonight was a much-needed victory,” said West Union head coach J.R. Kirker. “We came out and played right from the opening tip tonight and really executed well on both ends. They came back on us a few times but it seemed like every time they got close we made a little run ourselves. We had fouled them so much in the Classic game that we played a lot more zone tonight and I thought it worked well for us.”
West Union took the lead for good on their first two possessions of the game, getting a three-pointer from Runyan the first time they touched the ball and on their second possession, a basket by Jaycee Baldwin. Another three from almost the exact same spot by Runyan gave the visitors an 8-1 advantage, as the Lady Dragons’ pressure on defense rattled the Manchester five, before three free throws by C.J. Hobbs and a basket by Kylie Lucas got the Lady Hounds back to within 12-8.
West Union got back to back buckets from Kaylee Welch, before Manchester’s Abby McFarland was fouled shooting a three and sank all three attempts to make it 17-11 and then a quick 6-0 run that included a McFarland three put the home team right back in the fray, trailing just 19-17, but a Bickett trey in the final seconds ended a high-scoring first quarter with West Union up by five.
“We had been averaging about six points all year in the first quarter, so it was good to put up so many tonight,” added Kirker.
Early in the second frame, consecutive steals and scores by Hobbs cut the West Union lead to one, but a steal and layup by Bickett and a put back by Kiersten Rowe extended the Lady Dragon lead in what turned out to be a quite entertaining second period. Hobbs drilled three from the top of the key and West Union countered with an 8-0 run, capitalizing on Manchester turnovers to move on top 38-28.
The Lady Hounds continued to rack up points from the foul line, until a three-pointer by Bickett put her team up 43-34. Two free throws by Harley Silvia and a layup by Kendall Gallowitz sent the West Union girls to the intermission winning a shootout 47-34.
It was the Lady Dragons who took total control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the home team 21-10. After the Lady Hounds got three-pointers from McFarland and Darrington White, a three by West Union’s Rowe was the start of a 12-2 run, that of course included five free throws plus two buckets inside by Gallowitz and at the end of three periods, the Lady Dragons had extended their advantage to 68-44.
A third trey of the game by McFarland began a 6-0 Manchester run early in the final quarter, but minutes later West Union had their own 6-0 spurt to lead 79-56. The last four points of the game went to the home team, but it was the visiting Lady Dragons who put up their highest point total in recent memory and took home the 79-60 win.
West Union was led by the duo of Bickett and Runyan, each of whom tallied 18 points, Rowe also hit double figures with 11, while Gallowitz and Baldwin added 9 apiece. Kaylee Welch also tossed in 7 for the victors.
“I was really proud of Shannon Runyan tonight,” said Coach Kirker. “She came out and stepped up tonight right from the get-go. What a game Bickett played tonight too. She had an outstanding game.”
“Kiersten Rowe had been struggling lately, so it was good to see her put together a nice game and Kendall Gallowitz had a big third quarter for us.”
Even in defeat, the Lady Hounds put up their highest point total of the season and were led by 20 points by Hobbs and 14 from McFarland. Darrington White added 9 and Kylie Lucas 8 for the home side.
West Union improved to 4-8 on the year, 2-6 in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference and they were back in action on Monday, Jan. 16 as they traveled to Felicity in non-conference action. The Lady Dragons will jump back into conference play on Jan. 18 when they travel to Peebles.
The loss dropped Manchester to 1-14 on the year, 0-9 in the SHAC and they will be back on the hardwood on Jan.18 when they host the Augusta Lady Panthers, who they defeated by one point early in December for their only win thus far.
22 25 21 11 –79
17 17 10 16 –60
W. Union (79): Runyan 4 8-10 18, Welch 3 1-2 7, Bickett 7 2-2 18, Baldwin 4 0-1 9, Silvia 0 3-4 3, Kirker 1 2-2 4, Rowe 3 4-4 11, Gallowitz 4 1-4 9, Team 26 21-29 79.
Manchester (60): White 2 4-7 9, Smith 0 4-4 4, Friend 1 0-0 2, Hobbs 7 5-6 20, Lucas 2 4-11 8, Stamm 1 0-2 2, McFarland 3 5-5 14, Jones 0 1-2 1, Team 16 23-37 60.
W. Union (6): Runyan 2, Bickett 2, Rowe 1, Baldwin 1
Manchester (5): McFarland 3, White 1, Hobbs 1