Much like the Civil War, North and South squared off on Saturday, Feb. 10, but there was far less at stake when the two Inter-Valley Conference divisions met at Hiland High School’s Perry Reese, Jr. Community Center for the inaugural girls IVC Basketball Showcase.
In the basketball edition of North meets South, the South Division came away with a narrow 4-3 victory in the seven-game matchup, but the day-long event did create some pretty sound contests as the two divisions pitted the top teams against one another, the second-place teams with one another, and so on and so forth to the seventh-place finishers squaring off in the opener at 10 a.m.
In the nightcap the two division winners went toe to toe for the right to lay claim to the Inter-Valley Conference crown, and that honor went to Hiland, which pulled out a hard-earned 50-35 win over Tusky Valley, the North champion.
The Trojans showed some mettle early, staying right with the powerful Lady Hawks in what would amount to a 9-7 lead through the first period. The Lady Hawks would inch out to a 20-13 halftime lead in a contest where scoring was tough to come by.
However, for the game’s third eight-minute stanza, Hiland was able to find plenty of success and put the game away. The Lady Hawks rolled out 22 points in the period to put the Trojans behind the eight-ball at 42-22, and while Tusky Valley responded with a solid fourth quarter against the Hiland reserves, it was nowhere near enough.
Hiland struggled immensely from downtown, hitting just 5-of-23 on 3-point attempts, but Hiland did find success in the paint. Tiffany Weaver scored 10 points and hauled down 12 rebounds to pace Hiland. Zoe Miller added 10 points and six boards as Hiland ruled the inside to the tune of a 40-24 rebounding edge. Kennedy Schlabach and Morgan McMillen each scored eight points but hit just 3-of-15 threes combined. Sara Keim and Brynn Mullet both tacked on five points apiece for the Lady Hawks.
Tusky Valley was paced by Janna Franks’ nine points while Kierrah Stewart added eight. Jadyn Kuykendall added seven, and Lilli Patterson tacked on five. One big highlight for the Trojans was seeing Stewart surpass the 1,000-point career scoring plateau.
The win improved Hiland to 17-4 while Tusky Valley dropped to 16-4.
In game two the day produced a second 1,000-point career scorer when Lady Pirates senior Sydney Mullet went over that threshold in leading her team to a convincing 53-32 victory over Malvern in the divisional runner-up game.
Garaway used its trademark scrappy, hustling pressure defense to force the Hornets into 22 turnovers on the night, and that helped them limit what star center Kelsi Hulit could accomplish inside.
Garaway took a 10-7 lead after the first quarter, extending that lead to 24-15 at the break by applying great pressure on the perimeter. The Lady P’s then were able to basically put the game away with a third quarter in which they outscored Malvern 18-9 to forge an 18-point lead, and Garaway continued to exhibit strong play throughout in derailing the Hornets.
Mullet scored a game-high 23 points while Zoe Johnson added 10 points and Haley Shutt pitched in eight for the Lady Pirates, who improved to 16-4 on the campaign. Defensively Mullet and Kallie Regula each recorded five steals as the Lady Pirates were guilty of an impressive 19 steals in the contest.
Jasmine Goldsworthy scored 12 points, and Hulit added 10 and a dozen boards for the Hornets. Hulit’s effort allowed her to climb to within just 18 points of becoming the all-time leading girls scorer at Malvern.
In the battle of third-place teams, it took a huge effort after digging a hole, but the South Division won a big game when Buckeye Trail rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat Sandy Valley 48-43.
After the Cardinals had surprisingly built a 29-17 halftime lead, the Warriors trimmed the deficit to 37-29 entering the fourth quarter. Buckeye Trail (14-6) made its move and was able to slip by the Cardinals by using a 19-6 run in the final eight minutes.
Jenni Carmichael and Amber Colvin both scored 12 points for Buckeye Trail while Hannah Smith added 11 and Sam Canner scored 10. All of Colvin’s points came courtesy of four three-pointers. Sandy Valley (12-8) got 16 points from Alana Hill and 13 from Karlee Altimore.
The battle of fourth-place teams saw the North’s East Canton get past Ridgewood 55-42. Savannah Yacklin was on fire, scoring 20 points to lead East Canton past Ridgewood while Kalie Rettos led the Generals with 15 points.
South’s Claymont Mustangs rang up a huge 47-16 victory over Strasburg. Milana Harmon and Madison Garrett scored 18 and 15 points, respectively, and helped their team build a 16-2 first-quarter lead that would give them more than enough to topple the Tigers. Alyssa Sims scored seven points to lead the Tigers.
In a tight battle, North’s Connotton Valley Rockets survived the Indian Valley Braves in a 34-30 contest. Syd Lyon dropped in a team-high 13 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets. Kelci Manbeck added 10 points while Casey Scott led Indian Valley with eight points.
In the day’s opener Tuscarawas Central Catholic got the North off to a fine start by pounding out a 45-30 win over Newcomerstown. TCC was paced by Annette Weston’s 19 points while teammate Sophia Knight knocked down 15. Taylor Laffery led Newcomerstown with 12 points, and Amaris Wells added 10.