West Holmes

Clark shuts down the Ultimate Warrior, Lady Knights head to regional final

At the end of any basketball game it is so easy to look at the box score and see who had the most points and think that
player must have been the difference maker in the game.

The media is guilty of it all the time.  If a player scores the most points for the winning team, well then he or she must be the player of the game, right?

That’s not always the case. And it certainly wasn’t the case when West Holmes tangled with Carrollton in the Div. II regional semifinal in Zanesville on March 1.

West Holmes was led in the scoring column by Brittleigh Macaulay’s 18 points, but it was Hannah Clark’s defensive effort that was the main factor that put West Holmes in a position to clinch its fifth straight State tournament appearance.

Clark held Carrollton’s leading scorer Ali Poole to just nine points, almost ten points below her average, to lead the Lady Knights to a 40-27 win over the Warriors on Tuesday night.  The victory puts the Lady Knights in the regional final against Columbus Eastmoor Academy on March 4, back at Zanesville High School.  That game tips at 7:30 p.m.

Poole, a senior, became the all-time leading scorer in the program’s history this year and led the Carrollton to its first ever trip to a regional tournament game. Not only was Poole the leader of a successful 22-5 team this year, she could be considered the Ultimate Warrior when it comes to Carrollton’s girls’ basketball program and its growth.

On this night though, the Poole was closed.  Clark said no diving, no running and definitely no scoring allowed. Possession after possession Poole was met by Clark’s long frame contesting every shot she hoisted.

Clark held Poole to just the nine points on 3-for-12 shooting from the field.

“The defense our kids played tonight was what it needed to be,” said West Holmes’ head coach Lisa Patterson. “Hannah (Clark) did a tremendous job on her (Poole).  That’s the best defense I have seen that kid play all season. She locked her down tonight.”

While Clark was laying down the defense she also poured in 13 points to help her fellow senior Macaulay.  Junior Sammie Hall tossed in seven points, all in the first half, and Kacie Leppla rounded out the West Holmes scoring with two tallies.

After the first quarter West Holmes led 9-4. Both teams struggled early on to find some points as the game went five minutes into the first with the score tied 2-2. Macaulay finally got an easy bucket in transition off a Natalie Molnar steal to make it 4-2 West Holmes. (video)

Hall then threw some fire from the corner early in the second quarter as she dialed up a bonus ball to give the Lady Knights a 12-4 advantage. (video)

Macaualay went to work in the second quarter to extend the West Holmes lead to 21-9 by the break. She took a sick pass from Hall in the paint for a deuce, ripped a triple and then scored the last four points of the quarter on a layup and a put-back for her nine second quarter points. (video)

Leading by 12 at halftime it felt like the Lady Knights were in full control, yet Carrollton lingered just close enough to make this one a game.

And they would.

Four late free throws in the third quarter and a nice finish in the lane by Poole with the left hand cut the Lady Knights’ lead to 30-22 after three.

Poole’s only 3-pointer of the game came early in the fourth quarter to creep the Warriors even closer at 30-25 with plenty of time left on the game clock, over five minutes.

Patterson said her team was a bit disoriented during a stretch of the second half that allowed the Warriors to sneak back in it.

“There was a period of time in the third and fourth quarters that we started to look a little scattered. We settled down though,” said Patterson.  “At this point in the tournament, teams are going to have some runs, so we have to play through those.”

Patterson’s Lady Knights did just that.

Macaulay knocked in a pair of freebies, hit her second 3-pointer and Clark tossed in two more free throws to push the West Holmes lead right back to 37-27 with 1:32 to play. After Poole’s 3-pointer, the Lady Knights finished the game on a 8-2 run to secure the ‘W’.

Clark and Macaulay did it on the glass too, combining for 17 West Holmes rebounds. The Lady Knights out-rebounded the Warriors 34-15. West Holmes had 14 offensive rebounds, just one shy of Carrollton’s total rebounding number. The West Holmes twins Kacie and Kylie Leppla each had four boards to help the cause on the glass.

The Lady Knights are now 24-2 on the season heading into their date with Eastmoor Academy who beat Chillicothe 53-36 in the other regional semifinal held at Zanesville HS on Tuesday.

There’s one things you can bank on being a factor in that regional final match-up. The Lady Knights’ defense.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *