On Wednesday, Dec. 28, the West Holmes Lady Knights were in a giving mood. With a whopping 20 turnovers, they gave away the basketball to visiting Zanesville faster than Santa could say Ho-Ho-Ho.
But when it came to allowing the Blue Devils to put the ball in the hole, well, they were simply Scrooge-like.
The Lady Knights used a strong defense that limited Zanesville to just 33 percent shooting, and went on to post a 40-30 victory that was workmanlike at its best, a bit sloppy with the ball handling at its worst.
West Holmes committed five turnovers in the game’s first six minutes at The Dungeon at West Holmes High School, and held a tiny 7-6 lead as the first quarter drew to a close. That was when Alexis Hunter sparked the Lady Knights by draining a long 3-pointer to give them a 10-6 edge heading into the second quarter.
That was when West Holmes got serious. Laying down a mighty defensive half-court effort that completely shut down the Blue Devils, West Holmes would complete a 12-0 run that started with Hunter’s three-ball and ended with Kaylor Perone finding Kaylee Evans with a savvy spin move that created an easy bucket. In between, Kacie Leppla scored twice inside getting nice entry passes from Sammie Hall and Kylie Leppla, and Celeste Ryman scorched the net from downtown.
Now up 19-6, West Holmes was looking to put this holiday game in the win column early, but more turnovers resulted in a 6-0 Zanesville run.
Perone then scored on a driving down the lane and after a stop, Kylie Leppla made a nifty move and found Kacie Leppla wide open to make it 23-12. Karissa Weekley would hit a long jumper to end the half with the Lady Knights owning a 23-14 advantage.
The second half was almost an instant replay of the first half. West Holmes’ staunch defense kept forcing Zanesville into poor shots, but each time the Lady Knights seemed poised to blow the game wide open, they turned the ball over.
The third quarter saw the two teams completely trade scores the entire eight minutes. It started well for West Holmes when Kylie Leppla drove the lane for a pair, but Zanesville responded. Kacie Leppla then scored on an and-one off a steal from sister Kylie Leppla, but Weekley canned a three-ball. Hall scored off another assist from Kylie Leppla, but the Blue Devils found a response.
So it went until the horn signifying the end of the third quarter had the Lady Knights on top 33-23.
The fourth quarter began like the three previous ones, with a West Holmes score. Kacie Leppla’s two free throws pushed the lead to 12, and Sammie Hall hit a jumper to give West Holmes its biggest lead at 37-23.
However, those nasty turnovers kept cropping up for west Holmes, and Zanesville kept working on its comeback bid. Zanesville would get within 10 at the closest, and chose to simply ride out the final 40 seconds without fouling as West Holmes picked up win number seven against just two losses.
Leading the way for West Holmes was Kacie Leppla, who scored a game-high 13 points while snaring a game-high seven rebounds. Hall added eight points and four rebounds, while Perone tacked on seven points and a pair of steals, Kylie Leppla had four points but added five assists and while Taylor Yerian didn’t score, she did bring down five rebounds with a pair of assists. Weekley led Zanesville with 11 points and four steals. When they weren’t turning the ball over, the Lady Knights did an excellent job of creating some great looks for easy scores, shooting a very solid 51 percent form the floor on 16-of-31 shooting.
The Lady Knights now have a long break, and will not be back in action until Jan. 5 when they host Mansfield Madison in an Ohio Cardinal Conference match-up.