West Holmes Girls Basketball

Passing of the guards, Lady Knights in the giving mood.

Jess Marmet hauls down another board to help Lady Knights top Arrows

The West Holmes Lady Knights got pass-happy in their Thursday, Feb. 2 game against Ashland in The Dungeon at West Holmes High School.

That was a good thing.

With an incredible amount of crisp ball movement, finding the open player and making that one extra pass to overlook a shot for a much better shot, the Lady Knights methodically pulled away from the Arrows in a 53-33 victory.

West Holmes consistently found the open player, and made good on that, shooting 44 percent from the floor while going an impressive 9-of-16 from behind the 3-point arc.

That ball movement put a smile on the face of head coach Lisa Ogi, who said she had to do very little coaching as her team executed exactly the way they had drawn up the game plan.

When we pass the ball like we did tonight, the offense is much more enjoyable to watch,” Ogi said. “We put in another offense that allows us to work a little closer to the basket where we don’t have to rely on the 3-pointer so much. Our passing was the best it has looked in some time, and it was so much fun to watch. I told the girls that when they play like that all I have to do is sit back and watch.”

Ashland (7-12 overall and 5-6 in OCC play) was able to give the Lady Knights a battle throughout much of the game, but West Holmes’ signature hard-nosed half-court defense never really allowed the Arrows to make any significant runs.

After getting out to a 13-7 lead through one quarter, West Holmes got Taylor Yerian’s second and third triples of the game in the second quarter to move ahead by seven. That lead continued to grow as the Lady Knights got scoring from six different players, and West Holmes took a 25-14 lead into the locker room.

The Lady Knights maintained that lead over the first several minutes of the third quarter, then Sammie Hall nailed a trey and Kaylor Perone drove, then found Kylie Leppla for a wide-open jumper for a 34-18 lead.

That advantage grew to 19 points at 41-22 when great passing found a wide-open Alexis Hunter for a three-ball, and Kacie Leppla did what she does best in battling for offensive rebounds and turned a pair of them into four points.

Leading by 16 heading into the fourth period, the two teams traded buckets to before Hall drained a triple and Sabryn Cutlip drove and made a nice pas to Jess Marner inside for a score.

By that point, the Lady Knights had secured a win, and done so with succinct passing and solid shooting.

“Ashland is a solid ball club, and they didn’t shoot as many threes as they typically do,” Ogi said. “For the most part we did a good job on them defensively, and Kacie was really cleaning up the glass for us tonight. She has been up and down with her scoring, because some nights shots fall and some nights they don’t, but she is always going to give that kind of effort.”

Kacie Leppla paced West Holmes with 13 points and 10 rebounds, including an amazing eight on the offensive glass. Hall scored 12 points, Kylie Leppla added seven points and four assists, Yerian added nine on her three huge 3-pointers and Hunter scored six on two treys. West Holmes led the battle of rebounds 25-16, and perhaps more importantly, the Lady Knights doled out 15 assists.

Now 15-4 overall with a sparkling 10-1 mark in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, West Holmes has two league games left with a one-game lead over Mt. Vernon, plus it has a non-league contest against River View.

Ogi said that while the team has done well in fashioning the 15-4 mark, there is still plenty of room for improvement as the regular season draws to an end.

“No, we aren’t there yet,” Ogi said. “Tonight was better, a step in the right direction. Prior to tonight, we couldn’t throw it in the ocean. Someone told me that we need to change beaches. Maybe we changed beaches tonight. We haven’t got to 50 much, especially lately, and it we get to 50 I really like our chances. If we keep giving ourselves better looks like we did tonight, that will be a huge plus.”

The numbers tell the story there. When West Holmes holds its opponents to 40 points or less, it is 13-1, and when it scores 50 or more, it is 9-0. When it scores 40 or more points, it is 12-1.

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