West Holmes Girls Basketball

Lengthy lay-off has zero effect on Lady Knights’ D in 45-28 win over John Glenn

Celeste Ryman comes off the bench to propel Lady Knights to sectional crown

A two-week lay-off left the West Holmes Lady Knights offense looking a tad rusty.

However, the layoff did little to deter that relentless half-court defense that has carried the Lady Knights to an 18-4 regular season. You can now make that 19-4, as a brilliant defensive effort in the first half led to a 16-0 early lead, and it was more than enough to fend off a spirited effort from John Glenn (11-13) in the Div. III sectional final in a game hosted by West Holmes Saturday, February 25.

“You really hate to see it, but the reality of it is, I think we were a little bit off of our game because of the emotion,” said John Glenn head coach David Kirby. “We knew what was at stake. We were playing a good team on the road, in a championship. These guys have never played in a championship before. We were aware of what was at stake, and we played a little nervous, and we made some mistakes that were uncharacteristic.”

While the rest of the game was only a one-point spread, the Lady Knights were never challenged as they pulled out a 45-28 victory to advance to district play again. For the Lady Knights, it was just nice to get into some actual game action after a lengthy two-week lay-off.

“We were just ready to play somebody else,” said West Holmes head coach Lisa Ogi. “We were tired of practicing together and wanted to go take it out on someone else.”

The Lady Knights took out their frustration on the Little Muskies on the defensive end, while offensively they struggled mightily to connect early on as they tried to kick off the rust.

“Defensively we played really well,” Ogi said. “Offensively, that is what you get from us. If we get to 50 it’s a big deal. But as long as we play defense, we’ll be happy with that.”

While West Holmes was having trouble getting on track offensively to start the contest, senior Kacie Leppla was having a field day underneath, scoring five of West Holmes first seven points around a score off a steal from Kaylor Perone.

And when the Lady Knights offense was struggling to pull away, in stepped Celeste Ryman, who delivered a 3-pointer off a Leppla offensive rebound that just beat the clock to end the first quarter, giving West Holmes a 10-0 lead. Ryman then stepped into another triple to start the second quarter, and when Kylie Leppla followed suit, the 16-0 lead became an enormous mountain that was made even larger because a deficit of that size to West Holmes is more like a 25-point lead.

“”West Holmes guards a little differently than most teams we play,” Kirby said. “They got out on us, were physical and made us start a little higher with our offense. They are a talented team.”

However, give John Glenn credit. The Little Muskies didn’t stop playing, and 16-0 became 18-7. Taylor Yerian nail a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 21-7, but Madison Hunter scored on two free throws with just a couple ticks left in the half. Leading 21-9, Kylie Leppla alertly found Ryman streaking ahead of the pack, hit her with a perfect lead pass and Ryman laid it in just before time expired to push the lead back to 23-9 at the intermission.

“It was good to have (Ryman) hit some shots, and Kacie’s rebounding was superb,” Ogi said of the big early effort that gave West Holmes it’s insurmountable edge. “We have to have some outside shots fall for us.”

Sam Hall scored early in the third quarter, and after Hunter drove and scored, Kacie Leppla scored insider off a great feed from Perone and added two free throws the next trip down the floor. Ryman split two free throws then on the ensuing trip knocked down another triple to give the Lady Knights a 33-12 lead that ended the third quarter.

However, John Glenn began pressing full court, and using its great length, it did not allow West Holmes to go over the top. It caused some issues, and an 11-0 Little Muskies run trimmed the Lady Knights lead to 36-26, the charge lead by Hunter, Lyndi Slack and Bre Tetirick.

“They had length on us, and trying to get through those traps was difficult because of it,” Ogi said. “But we have seen that before, we just needed to settle down a bit.”

Still, there was no panic in West Holmes. Perone drilled a three-ball from the corner, Kacie Leppla drained two more free throws and Ryman connected on a jumper, and just like that the lead was back to 17 at 43-26.

That was more than enough with West Holmes continuing to play shutdown half-court defense.

Ryman led the way for West Holmes with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, while Kacie Leppla scored 11 points and hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds. Perone tacked on five points, Kylie Leppla added four points, four rebounds and five assists, Hall scored four points and had three steals and Yerian had three points and added four steals. Hunter scored 13 points to lead John Glenn, while Slack added five and Tetirick added four.

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