After what could only be defined as an ugly effort in their game with Garaway three days prior, the West Holmes Lady Knights were looking to get back into their winning ways when they hosted the Ashland Arrows on Thursday, Jan. 10 in The Dungeon at West Holmes High School.
It turns out that a little home cooking on the Ohio Cardinal Conference was just what the doctor ordered to get back to health.
West Holmes found success when it pressured the Arrows, got a balanced scoring attack and played much better in knocking off Ashland 52-36 to move to 8-4 overall and 7-1 in the OCC. That 7-1 mark puts them just one game behind league-leading Wooster, with whom the Lady Knights have an upcoming date.
While both teams suffered from 24 turnovers apiece, a habit West Holmes is seeking to shake, the name of the game in this contest was stopping Ashland’s high-powered offensive star Alyssa Steury. Steury is averaging more than 20 points per contest and had a 40-point effort earlier this season, so stymieing her would be a must for the Lady Knights.
Steury roared out of the blocks early looking like that was going to be an impossibility, scoring Ashland’s first six points to spot them to a 6-3 advantage. However, West Holmes head coach Lindsy Snyder began hounding Steury with a double-team after that and slowed her scoring output greatly.
Meanwhile, the Lady Knights started clicking offensively. West Holmes went on a 10-2 run to end the quarter. Regan Wilcox, Taylor Miller and Katie Sprang all drove for scores, and Charolette Brown added a bucket inside. When Brown hit a pull-up jumper on the baseline, the quarter ended with West Holmes leading 13-7.
A Wilcox 3-pointer and her steal that led to two points for Paige Race helped ignite an early second-quarter run that saw West Holmes push its lead to 21-8, but those nasty turnovers kept rearing their ugly head, and Ashland began clawing back into the game.
Breena Plank dropped in a trey to trim the Lady Knights lead to 23-15, but Sprang scored on two athletic moves in the paint with just under 2:30 to play to push the lead back to 27-15. At that point West Holmes committed three straight turnovers that allowed Steury to go back to work for three free throws, and Alicia Van Horn nailed a triple with 17 seconds to play. Suddenly a large lead was down to just four points at 27-23 at the intermission.
In a low-scoring third period, West Holmes’ lead shrank again to three points at 33-30 heading into the final period, but it was going to be a productive eight-minute span that Snyder would love as her team took control.
With all eyes on Steury defensively, the Lady Knights clamped down on her, allowing just two second-half points, and offensively they had a team effort to pull away.
Miller and Race helped push the lead to 38-30. Sprang hit a short jumper in the lane, and Wilcox scored her first points of the second half with a put-back. Kinsey Patterson then took on a key role, making two steals and adding an offensive rebound, which led to another Wilcox score and two Miller free throws. Suddenly a tight three-point game turned into a huge 46-30 Lady Knights’ advantage, and they never looked back and never let off the gas.
After Ashland scored, Race’s steal and lay-up and Patterson’s assist to Claire Reynolds pushed the lead to 50-32 and effectively ended any drama on the evening as the two teams played out a relatively uneventful final few minutes.
West Holmes’ double-teaming strategy on Steury worked well as the Lady Knights limited her to just 14 points on the night. Plank and Abbey Miller each added six while Kaylee Friesen, who caused West Holmes problems in their earlier contest, was limited to just three points, although she did haul down 11 rebounds.
West Holmes collected its victory courtesy of a balanced attack. Wilcox led them with 14 points and added four steals, Sprang added 10 points and three assists, Race scored nine, Taylor Miller added six points and three assists, and Brown, Reynolds and Katrina Rolince all added four points apiece while Patterson snared three steals.
The Lady Knights did plenty of damage on the glass, where they held a commanding 50-33 rebounding edge, and just like they did with the scoring, they divvied those up well too. Wilcox and Sprang each hauled down eight boards, Alicia Alexander added seven, Miller tracked down five and Reynolds grabbed four.
While each team made just three 3-pointers, it was inside the arc that the Lady Knights made hay, hitting 17-of-43 action shots from two-point land while the Arrows managed to make just 6-of-21.
Another key to the win was the turnovers. While West Holmes coughed it up a ton in the first half, it limited their turnovers, especially in the fourth period when they pulled away.
The Lady Knights junior varsity team had little trouble in dispensing of the Arrows 63-31. Sage Miller led all scorers with 17 points, and Sayler Miller finished with 13 points. Melanie Fair pitched in 10 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals. Chloe Shumaker pulled down 11 rebounds, had three steals and three assists while finishing with eight points. Amy Hughes grabbed six rebounds and finished with eight points. Reynolds pitched in four points for the Lady Knights. Patterson dished out six assists, had six steals and rounded out the scoring with three points.