West Union also part of June 16 action at NAHS –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
The summer basketball action continues all over southeast Ohio and on Friday, June 16, it was the gymnasium at North Adams High School again playing host as five varsity girls’ squads gathered for an all-day summer shootout. Those teams included the host Lady Devils, West Union, Eastern Brown, Piketon, and Southeastern.
The shootout used both ends of the gym at the same time, going cross-court which somewhat limits what teams can do, and featured two 18-minute halves with a running clock until the final minute. A shooting foul equated to one point on the scoreboard plus one free throw.
Perhaps the most intriguing match up of the day came right off the bat as the host team battled Eastern Brown, two teams that will be expected to be right in the hunt next winter in the big school division of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, as North Adams makes to move up from the small school.
Coach Kevin Pickerill and his Lady Warriors are fresh off a Final Four appearance last season, but the summer work has become additionally important for them after the possible season-ending loss of senior Allison Day to a serious knee injury. Even though this was a meaningless summer game, both Pickerill and North Adams head coach Rob Davis were in mid-season form as even a good rivalry can extend into the middle of June. In the ned, some red-hot shooting by Eastern’s Alexa Pennington helped the Lady Warriors pull out a hard-fought 36-30 victory.
At the same time, on the other end of the gym, Coach J.R. Kirker and his West Union Lady Dragons were in action, battling the Piketon Lady Red Streaks. West Union broke out to an early lead but a Piketon comeback made the game tight in the closing minutes. A MacKenzie Bickett three-pointer for the Lady Dragons broke a 35-35 tie and a later free throw by Sianna Mills helped seal a 40-36 win for the girls in green.
The Lady Dragons were right back in action, facing a tough Southeastern Ross squad, who were missing their all-everything senior Ella Skeens. That didn’t seem to matter to the Lady Panthers as they raced to a 21-10 halftime lead and then held on to top West Union 35-24.
“We have worked the ball well inside and out this summer,” said Coach Kirker. “We still need to cut down on our turnovers when we try to force the issue sometimes, but the more we play, the better we’ll be.”
Kirker has also been impressed with the summer play of junior-to-be Harley Silvia.
“Harley has really stepped it up this summer,” says Kirker. “I told her at the end of last season that she could do grae things for us, come in and give us some solid minutes. She’s been starting for us this summer and given us quality minutes.
For their second outing of the day, Coach Davis and his Lady Devils faced off with Southeastern Ross and with their pressure defense increased exponentially by the cross-court dimensions, the North Adams girls took a 22-13 halftime advantage.
With Davis again mixing his varsity regulars with some JV girls and both teams pressing full court on the half court, the Lady Devils still won running away 42-20.
Before the day came to a close, West Union also faced Eastern Brown and North Adams, while the Lady Devils battled Piketon along with their match up with West Union.