Led by a freshman and a pair of seniors, the West Union Lady Dragons got their 2015-16 campaign off to a successful beginning on Nov. 21 as they downed the Paint Valley Lady Bearcats 56-49 as part of the annual Paint Valley Classic that kicks off the season.
In the win, freshman Alexa Pennington began her varsity career with an impressive stat line of 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 4 steals, and 4 assists. Experience also came through for the Lady Dragons as senior Mikayla Akers contributed 11 points and 6 rebounds while classmate Kristen Grooms added 9 points and 6 boards.
“It’s always nice to get a win and when that win starts off your season, it makes it even better,” said West Union head coach Jason Claytor. “Thins weren’t very easy for us. We got in some foul trouble early and had to manage that in the first half, but we did just that and managed.”
The Lady Dragons, perhaps with those first-game jitters, fell behind 10-2 in the first quarter, but rallied back to trail just 14-12 after eight minutes of play.
“I thought we were a little nervous early,” said Claytor. “Paint Valley had an advantage because they played the night before and had a chance to get those first game jitters out.”
By the halftime intermission, the Lady Dragons had taken a slim 25-24 advantage and increased that just to 38-36 at the end of three quarters. In the final period, the Lady Bearcats took a five-point lead, but West Union battled back in a big way and fought back behind some strong play from Akers and freshman Jaycee Baldwin to eventually claim the seven-point victory.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well at all from the perimeter and we struggled from the free throw line, plus we turned the ball over way too much for my liking,” added Claytor. “But we kept fighting and we found a way to win. That is what makes good basketball teams, if you can find a way to win when things aren’t always going your way, you can be destined for great things.”
“All in all it was a great way to start the season and something we can build off of. We have a long way to go but this is a big step in the right direction.”
The Lady Dragons were back on the court on Tuesday, Nov. 24, hosting the Fayetteville Lady Rockets in their Southern Hills Athletic Conference opener.