Peebles rolls past the Lady Dragons 61-23 –
By Mark Carpenter –
West Union Lady Dragons head coach J.R. Kirker brought his M*A*S*H* unit to Peebles High School on Thursday, Jan.4 for a Southern Hills Athletic Conference match up with the Lady Indians, one that wouldn’t go well for the depleted visitors. Coach Kirker must feel like a black cloud follows him wherever he goes as he has seen his squad drop to just nine players, JV and varsity combined, due to a plague of injuries.
Kirker has lost three starters to knee injuries, Mackenzie Bickett before the season even began, Harley Silvia during the recent McDonald’s Classic, and fresh off being named to the Classic All-Tournament Team, Jaycee Baldwin went down on Thursday night. All of that pointed to a pretty good opportunity for the Lady Indians to pull off a victory, as they did handily, riding the 23-point effort of freshman Jacey Justice to a 61-23 triumph.
Unfortunately for the Lady Dragons, the outcome of Thursday night’s contest may have been decided within the first three minutes when three-pointers by Baylee Justice and McKinlee Ryan gave Peebles the early 6-0 advantage. West Union got on the board with a basket by Sianna Mills, but that was followed by an 11-point run by the Lady Indians that began with a Jerilin Toller trey, included four points by Justice, and finished with a basket by Tatum Arey that made it 17-2. A second Mills basket closed out the first quarter but the home team was firmly in control with a 13-point lead.
Justice tallied a basket and a free throw to begin the second period, and the Lady Dragons got a bucket from Paige Carroll, followed by a 6-0 Peebles run that ended with a Justice “3” and made the lead 26-6. A nice steal and score by Mills followed but that was only answered by the Lady Indians reeling off the final 15 points of the first half, getting a trio of three-pointers from the red-hot Ryan and by the intermission, the home team was on cruise control, leading 41-8.
The halftime respite did nothing to cool off the home team as they opened the third quarter with back-to-back Justice threes, but the Lady Dragons showed some resilience with an 8-0 run, that included a pair of McKenzie Kirker free throws after Peebles was called for a technical for having six girls on the floor. A stick back by Kiersten Rowe finished off a much better quarter for the Lady Dragons, though they still trailed 51-18.
With the commanding lead, Peebles coach Billie Jo Justice was able to freely substitute, a luxury not as readily available for Coach Kirker. The Lady Dragons got a three-pointer from McKenzie Kirker , followed by back-to-back buckets from Peebles’ Toller. The final West Union basket came from Mills with 4:25 to play and the home side finished off the 61-23 win with a basket by Arey and two Christian Reed free throws.
Jacey Justice led all scorers with 23 points, and she is averaging 19.8 points game through the first 12 games of her high school career. With her four three-point goals, Ryan added 12 for the Lady Indians in their win, while Toller also hit double figures with 11 as Peebles improved to 8-4 on the season. (The Lady Indians added win number nine on Saturday with a 53-50 win over New Boston.)
West Union dropped to 3-7 with the loss and were led in scoring by Mills with 8 points, with Kirker adding 5. (The Lady Dragons suffered their eighth loss of the season on Saturday at Bethel-Tate, falling 71-19.)
After having a Monday tilt with Ripley cancelled due to weather, the Lady Indians will be back in action on Thursday, Jan. 11 with a trip to Whiteoak for a conference game with the winless Lady Cats. On Saturday at 3 p.m., Peebles will be out of conference, hosting the Western Lady Indians.
The Lady Dragons’ road gets no easier as they will travel to Lynchburg on Thursday in SHAC play, before traveling to New Boston on Monday, Jan. 15.
4 4 10 5 –23
17 24 10 10 –61
W. Union (23): Kirker 1 2-2 5, Rowe 2 0-0 4, Mills 4 0-0 8, K. Daniels 1 2-2 4, Carroll 1 0-0 2, Team 9 4-4 23.
Peebles (61): J. Justice 8 4-6 23, Ryan 4 0-0 12, Reed 1 2-6 4, Nichols 1 0-0 2, Toller 5 0-0 11, B. Justice 1 0-0 3, Arey 3 0-0 6, Team 23 6-12 61.
W. Union (1): Kirker 1
Peebles (9): J. Justice 3, Ryan 4, B. Justice 1, Toller 1