The Garaway Lady Pirates varsity and junior varsity teams each earned one-point victories in their tilts with the Buckeye Trail Warriors on Wednesday, Jan. 2 in Guernsey County.
How they got there were two entirely different stories.
The varsity Lady P’s won 47-46 and had to hang on for dear life in the fourth period while the junior varsity Garaway team clawed back into its game in the fourth quarter and overcame their opponent when Kat Weaver knocked down her only three points of the game on the Lady Pirates’ final shot at the end of regulation.
“We came out of the locker room down two, and they were shooting free throws and missed them both,” Garaway varsity head coach Dave Shutt said of the end of the JV game. “They pressed us, and we had to go the length of the floor. We got it to Kat, and as soon as the ball left her hand, the buzzer went off. She nailed it. It was an exciting finish.”
In the JV game the Lady Pirates looked ready to steamroll the Warriors, racing to an 8-0 lead after the first quarter. Garaway maintained its edge, forfeiting just one point of its lead in the second quarter and taking a 14-7 advantage into intermission.
However, Buckeye Trail came roaring out of the locker room and outscored Garaway 13-4 to take the lead at 20-18. The two teams then traded punches throughout the final eight minutes, setting the stage for Weaver’s heroic shot that sent Garaway to victory.
Amia Proper led the way for Garaway with eight points while Bri Rider, Makayla Sitzlar and Jordyn Fearon all chipped in with six apiece. Camryn Miller added two, but it was Weaver’s big three that sent Garaway home happy. Abbey Wayble and Sidney Beaver scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Warriors.
That lively little shindig set the tone for a varsity game that would be every bit as exciting.
Just like the JV team, the varsity Lady Pirates bolted to a large lead at 16-8 through the first quarter. Buckeye Trail trimmed off three points and trailed the Lady P’s 27-22 at the intermission.
Going into the game, Shutt said the goal was to double-up on post player Sam Canner, a double-double machine who is averaging around 18 points per contest. In the first half Garaway held the star Warrior scoreless, forcing some other players to make plays.
“We ended up holding her to six points and five rebounds, and when you take something away from a team, you sometimes give up some other things, and they beat us on penetration a few times because we were keying on Canner,” Shutt said.
Garaway’s Kallie Regula then boosted her team back to a nine-point lead at 40-31, and Garaway looked to be in great shape as it prepared to put the wraps on another Inter-Valley Conference South game.
Garaway was ready to put this game in the win column, but the only problem was the Warriors were in no mood to go home empty-handed, and the home team staged a mighty comeback that fell just one point short as Garaway escaped with the win.
“They actually hit a shot late that put them ahead by two, and Kallie turned around and hit a huge 3-pointer with time winding down,” Shutt said. “Then they had a shot at the line and failed to convert, and we knocked the ball out of bounds. I think they wanted to go inside to Canner, but we covered her and forced them to lob it high out on top, and they missed. You hate giving away a lead like we did late, but we were able to get out of there with a win against a pretty good, well-coached team.”
Shutt said they have experience with the Warriors coming back from a deficit. The same thing happened last season, and then, like now, Garaway was able to earn a win.
“You hate giving away a lead like that late, and we just made some bad decisions and had some poor execution during that span,” Shutt said. “We really struggled during that stretch until the very end.”
Regula reeled off a game-high 22 points to lead the way for the Lady Pirates. Lizzie Mullet added eight, Chelsi Rothacher scored seven, and Zoe Johnson and Ashton Gerber each tallied five for the winners. Buckeye Trail was led in scoring by Rylie Smith’s 11 points while Ashleigh Wheeler added 10.
“Kallie really had a nice game offensively because she scored in multiple ways,” Shutt said. “She was 6-of-6 from twos and hit 3-of-7 three-pointers. She was scoring in a lot of different ways.”
While Johnson, the Lady P’s other big scoring threat, was held to five points, Shutt said that didn’t paint the picture of her contribution.
“Zoe had a great game defensively,” Shutt said. “She probably had 10 or 11 deflections out in front of our zone. I thought Ashley also played a key role by rebounding, which is a huge plus from a guard.”
Garaway advanced to 6-5 overall and to 5-1 in Inter-Valley Conference South play on the season while Buckeye Trail fell to 7-4 overall.