It seemed like a long time between games for the West Holmes Lady Knights, who last played Nov. 27 in a game that saw them struggle mightily on offense but still win 32-17 over Triway.
However, in the nine days in between that game and their Dec. 6 contest at Ashland High School against the Arrows, Lindsy Snyder’s crew found a little something called offense.
West Holmes carved out an early edge, overcoming an early Ashland lead, moving ahead and staying ahead for the majority of the time in a tight game to claim a 57-50 victory.
Led by outstanding point guard Alyssa Steury, Ashland charged out to a lead and held it throughout the first quarter, taking a 12-9 advantage. However, a big second quarter for West Holmes that was a total team effort saw the Lady Knights rebound, tie the game and move ahead to forge a 25-21 lead at intermission, and while the offense improved dramatically, it would be the Lady Knights’ defense that would be the instigator of the first-half turnaround. West Holmes forced Ashland into 15 first-half turnovers with some frantic defensive pressure.
While Ashland would not lead in the second half, it would eventually come back to tie things up, but the Lady Knights proved to be more than ready for any challenge.
Hannah Rohr sandwiched a 3-pointer between scores from Kaylee Friesen and Steury, and Alicia Alexander hit a pair of free throws to move West Holmes ahead 30-25. Steury connected again to draw Ashland within three as a recurring theme began to show its face with the Arrows challenging to threaten West Holmes’ lead and the Lady Knight responding.
Regan Wilcox found the answer to this particular threat by tossing in her second 3-pointer of the game to move WHHS ahead 33-27.
Friesen hit a pair of charity tosses, and after a pair of West Holmes turnovers, Steury shot two free throws, and Ashland picked up its defensive efforts and produced the Lady Knights’ third and fourth turnovers. Friesen then went to the stripe and connected on two free throws to draw even with West Holmes at 33-33.
West Holmes was under the gun to produce, and it would be Paige Race getting loose on a long pass, drawing a foul and connecting on two free throws to give the lead back to West Holmes. The Lady Knights provoked the Arrows into their 20th turnover and pushed the lead back to four points. Taylor Miller got loose as time wound down in the third period and scored inside to make it 37-33.
Race quickly hit one of the game’s biggest buckets when she drilled a 3-pointer to begin the fourth period, which gave West Holmes some breathing room at 40-33, and Miller connected on her second triple of the game. Suddenly the Lady Knights had built a 43-33 advantage, but Ashland wasn’t about to go away.
A free throw and Friesen’s put-back made it 43-36, Charolette Brown knocked down two free throws, and Steury hit a long jumper to make it 45-38. West Holmes came out of a time-out, and Snyder drew up a beautiful backdoor scoring play that went from Race to Alexander for a 47-38 lead.
Steury continued to keep Ashland close, hitting two free throws, but Wilcox sized up her third trey of the game to push the lead back to 10 at 50-40. Steury and Miller traded scores, but Friesen and Tylah Cline both scored on Ashland put-backs, forcing Snyder to call time-out with 1:46 to play and the Lady Knights leading 52-46.
Steury made a steal and could have really put the pressure on, but she missed the contested lay-up on the other end. Race got the board and was fouled, splitting two free throws. Steury scored inside to trim the WHHS lead to 53-48, and after Alexander missed two free throws, Ashland could cut into the lead even further with 36 seconds to play.
Needing a quick score, Alexander came up big, stepping into the passing lane and tying up the ball to give it back to West Holmes. Miller was quickly fouled and connected on one of two free throws, but the Lady Knights were able to procure possession off the miss. Miller was again fouled and hit both shots for a 56-48 lead, and West Holmes forced a 24th turnover on the ensuing inbound play to regain possession. Race was quickly fouled and split two free throws for West Holmes’ final point, and Steury tossed in a late score, but West Holmes had hung on for the victory.
The victory saw the Lady Knights gain a win in their first Ohio Cardinal Conference contest of the season.
West Holmes was outscored by Ashland 36-12 inside the 3-point arc, but from beyond it the Lady Knights were dangerous, connecting on 10-of-29 for 30 points while the Arrows were a miserable 0-of-12.
Leading the way in the scoring column was Race, coming off the bench with 11 points, while Taylor Miller and Charolette Brown each finished with 10 points apiece. A balanced scoring effort saw Alexander finish with six points while hauling down an impressive 11 rebounds. Rohr knocked down eight points, Regan Wilcox scored nine and Katrina Rolince rounded out the scoring with three points. Brown added four offensive rebounds for West Holmes, and Rohr added four rebounds to lead West Holmes to a 43-39 advantage on the glass. Friesen and Cline grabbed 12 and 11 caroms, respectively.
The Lady Knights JV team continued to roll, winning its third game of the season with a strong performance over Ashland that saw them hammer out a 61-33 victory. Melanie Fair played very well, grabbing seven rebounds and leading all scorers with 19 points. It was a balanced scoring effort with Kinsey Patterson recording six points, Chloe Shumaker adding two, Claire Reynolds with nine, Sage Miller scoring 10, Sayler Miller knocking down 13 and Amy Hughes rounded out the scoring with two points. Claire Reynolds dished out six assists, and Sayler Miller rebounded the ball well, grabbing nine rebounds for the Lady Knights.
Two nights later the Lady Knights took a trip up north to Wooster to face Ohio Cardinal Conference rival Wooster. The Generals got off to a huge start and then settled in as West Holmes posed a comeback bid, but the Generals ended up hanging on, giving the Lady Knights a 54-42 loss.
Wooster jumped out to a huge 15-4 first-quarter lead when the Lady Knights struggled to find any rhythm on offense. That advantage grew to 26-12 at the half. Then the bulge grew to 45-25 after three quarters.
Despite a rugged fourth-quarter effort that saw West Holmes pour in 17 points, it was too little too late.
Wilcox led the Lady Knights with nine points while Rolince, Claire Reynolds and Katie Sprang, who returned from an injury to play her first action, all netted six in the loss as West Holmes saw its record evened up at 2-2.