West Holmes Girls Basketball

Lady Knights race to big win over Titans with a huge second half

Taylor Miller and the Lady Knights fend off a challenge from the Titans in 32-17 win

When the West Holmes Lady Knights hosted the Triway Titans on Tuesday, Nov. 27 in The Dungeon at West Holmes High School, points were at a huge premium.

With the game tied at 8-8 heading into the second half, one of the teams was going to find a run and put the pressure on their opponent.

While West Holmes’ defense continued to be fierce, it would be sophomore guard Paige Race who would ignite a run that paved the way for a 32-17 West Holmes win.

“We knew coming into the year that it might be an uphill struggle offensively,” said Triway head coach Brian Kiper, who noted that the loss of Tanner Wirth, the school’s third all-time leading scorer, and Olivia Lang, who scored more than 850 career points, left an enormous hole in their offense. “I thought our defense played well. We limited them to eight first-half points, but obviously we are going to have to find a way to generate some points.”

Race scored five points near the end of the first quarter including a 3-pointer, but Triway proved it too could lay down some ‘D’ and limited West Holmes to just one point to crawl back to even at the half at 8-8.

At that point Lindsy Snyder told her team at the half that things could go one of two ways for them, and it was up to them to make something positive happen.

“Defensively we played great,” Snyder said. “I told coach Franks, ‘Do you realize it’s 8-8? That is where we want to be defensively.’ At halftime I told the kids we can go one of two ways: It’s 8-8. You can drop your intensity, or you can be the aggressive ones and be the go-getters. And they came out and did that; 8-8 wasn’t good enough.”

After Alicia Alexander knocked down a free throw to spot the Lady Knights to a 9-8 lead, Race made a steal, went down the floor and was fouled by Allie Malone, who felt she got all ball on her effort. Her complaints earned her a technical foul, and Race hit three of the four free throws. Then West Holmes got the ball back and promptly turned it into two more points on a Regan Wilcox drive.

Trailing 14-8, the Titans were on the verge of fading, but Sydney Sherrieb stepped into a huge trey to get her team back into the game.

Once again a Race defensive effort seemed to spark her team, and after her steal and free throw, Taylor Miller knocked down a baseline jumper. West Holmes got a jump ball under its own hoop with 2.1 seconds left. Race inbounded to Wilcox, who dropped a pass right back to Race, who had gone to the corner. Her buzzer-beating three gave West Holmes a 20-11 lead after three, and in this game, nine points was a mountain to climb for the trailing team.

“They had a little stretch near the end of the third quarter where they knocked down a few shots in a row,” Kiper said. “Whichever team was going to be able to do that, in a game like this, a six- to eight-point lead feels like 15 points. That little run was enough to pull away from us, and we don’t handle pressure well, and we have to do a better job of preparing the girls for that kind of thing.”

Race was far from finished, hitting her third triple to move the lead out to 23-11, then a couple of free throws for a 25-11 bulge.

“I feel like I’m the energy that gets things started,” Race said.

Asked whether she prefers the huge pair of steals that ignited the rally or the triples that capped it off, Race simply replied with a laugh, “I like both.”

Triway scored five points, led by sophomore Natalie Adams, but West Holmes began a long parade to the free throw line where sophomore Alicia Alexander and Hannah Rohr came up huge down the stretch, hitting 7-of-8 free throws to keep the Titans at bay. West Holmes ended up canning 19-of-26 free throws.

“She’s a tough kid, and when Paige is on, she’s on,” Snyder said of her sophomore guard. “The other kids feed off that, and it was very evident tonight.”

As for Rohr and Alexander down the stretch, Snyder was impressed with their poise at the charity stripe.

“Hannah and Lish both stepped up,” Snyder said of the two free-throw shooters. “Hannah’s not going to be a kid who shows up in the stats. She can get hot occasionally, but she is a kid who does the little things. She is a defender; she runs the floor and made plays. Lish came up with a huge steal during our run, and those are big plays you can’t draw up, but those kids are going to make those types of plays.”

Adams paced Triway with seven points while McKayla Feikert added four. Race had a huge game for West Holmes, pouring in 17 points, a huge effort after getting shut down in the opener against North Canton Hoover. Alexander, Rohr and Miller all added four for the Lady Knights, and both teams evened their records at 1-1 in the new season.

After getting rocked 70-28 in the season opener against Hoover, Snyder said it was exciting to see her team come back strong, especially on defense.

“We want to be the aggressive team. We want to be the aggressor,” Snyder said.

The Lady Knights junior varsity team picked up its second win of the season, defeating Triway 30-23. Sharon Yoder led all scorers with nine points. Kinsey Patterson, Claire Reynolds and Sayler Miller each scored six points for the Lady Knights. Melanie Fair added three points to round out the scoring for West Holmes.

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