Classic in the Country

Lady Knights fall to Sheridan after last-second change at CitC

After a wild 24-hour period before Classic in the Country XV, which saw Mother Nature dump a load of snow and ice on Holmes County, the West Holmes Lady Knights saw their scheduled second game of the showcase become the premier as the schedule got turned upside down.

West Holmes had prepared for a date with Youngstown Ursuline but instead got bumped up to the opener to face a talented Sheridan team that had lost its former opponent, Minster.

That threw the Lady Knights’ schedule into a frantic recovery mode as the staff scrambled to find footage on Sheridan, a team it had no idea it would face this season.

“At 3-o’clock yesterday afternoon we found out we were switching games, and we were able to get some film on [Sheridan],” Lady Knights head coach Lindsy Snyder said. “We were able to watch them and get the scouting report on who was responsible for guarding who.”

However, there would be another glitch. The planned shoot-around was canceled due to the nasty weather, so the team went over the scouting report on the bus trip from Millersburg to Berlin.

“For the most part I felt like the girls were prepared,” Snyder said.

Charolette Brown gave West Holmes the huge early boost any team needs in an event as big as CitC when she scored inside and then canned a 3-pointer for an early 5-0 Lady Knights lead.

Kaylor Perone nailed a huge trey late in the first quarter, and her steal and spin move gave the Lady Knights a 14-13 lead after Sheridan had taken the lead on Kendyl Mick’s third 3-pointer. After a stop the two teams had a monumental scramble for a loose ball under the West Holmes bucket, and freshman Paige Race came up with it and laid it in for a 16-13 advantage.

Mick scored inside, but Regan Wilcox and Brown both scored a pair of points, and the two teams battled through the first half in a dead heat at 22-all.

“That first half we had to defend their shooters and block out, and we did that the first half,” Snyder said. “That was the point of emphasis for us, and the next step is to make that the emphasis without having to think about it.”

After Perone hit a jumper from above the free throw line to start the second half, Sheridan went on a 7-0 run to forge a 29-24 lead that grew to 32-24 when Mick nailed her fourth triple.

Race stopped the run by slicing through the Generals’ defense for an and-one to trim the deficit to 32-27.

A bucket from Sheridan’s Emma Conrad and a three-ball from Rachel Cooke pushed the Generals’ lead back to double figures at 37-27 to end the third period, but the Lady Knights got a Maddie Woods steal, and she fed Perone for a score to cut the deficit to 37-29, but Sheridan’s poise, ball-handling and shooting ability foiled any thoughts of a Lady Knights’ comeback as West Holmes went cold in the second half on offense.

Snyder actually stuck lightning-quick guard Maddie Woods on Mick, and Woods actually made it a lot tougher for the high-scoring guard to score in the second half after Mick got off to a hot start. However, Sheridan’s overall scoring depth proved to be too balanced to stop.

“I am a full believer in your defense dictating your offense,” Snyder said. “We were aggressive with our defense in the first half, and we weren’t as aggressive with it in the second half. We were playing defense in the first half, and that let us go a little bit offensively.”

Snyder had the joy of playing at CitC as a player at West Holmes, and now coming back to coach at it in her inaugural year in guiding the Lady Knights program, she got to experience the event from the coaching point of view.

“You know you’re supposed to be cool, calm and collected,” Snyder said. “As a coach you understand that, and you know it’s just another basketball game, another chance to get better. As a player it’s hard to make yourself believe that.”

Perone, the lone active member on the Lady Knights who is a senior, played her swan song time at CitC. She said the experience was one that can be nerve-racking but exhilarating at the same time.

“It’s so much fun coming here to compete in front of this big crowd and having all of these great teams competing against each other,” Perone said. “It can be hard sometimes, but you just have to block it out.”

Snyder said the second half saw her players get lost several times on defense, which allowed Sheridan’s sharp-shooters to get loose for scores. In addition West Holmes shot just 25 percent from the floor.

Mick led all scorers with 18 points, adding three blocks, while Cooke tossed in 10 for the Generals (9-2). The Lady Knights got 11 points, four boards and two steals from Perone; 10 points, three rebounds and two steals from Race; and seven points from Brown.

Snyder said despite the loss, the experience, the way they played in the first half and the continuing improvement her team is showing made the trip through the brutal weather more than worth it.

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