One minute the West Holmes Lady Knights were up, the next they were down, only to rally and then fall behind. In a back-and-forth game with Indian Valley Braves in Gnadenhutten on Monday, Feb. 4, the Lady Knights were able to overcome a sour first-half effort to capture a scintillating 67-62 double-overtime win, nearly matching their earlier season triple-overtime win over Mt. Vernon.
“There was never a dull moment,” West Holmes head coach Lindsy Snyder said of the game. “It took forever. The JV game went on forever, and then we just kept playing, but it was always exciting.”
Early on the Lady Knights played give-away as they quite generously provided the Braves with multiple scoring opportunities by turning the ball over in a variety of ways. Unfortunately for Indian Valley, they too were in a giving mood, the two teams oftentimes trading turnovers.
But when the Braves caught fire late in the half and built a nine-point lead and had the Lady Knights reeling, West Holmes had a key response. Taylor Miller and Regan Wilcox stepped in to provide a couple of big plays that helped West Holmes trim that deficit to just 26-23 at the half.
With what they thought was one more half of basketball to go, West Holmes head coach Lindsy Snyder knew her team needed to begin to treat possessions with more care, and did so, cutting back on their turnovers. That led to a surge in productivity where Katie Sprang, Paige Race and Wilcox helped propel the Lady Knights to a 15-8 third quarter that gave them the lead. The momentum spilled over into the fourth period as West Holmes kept up its man-to-man pressure all over the court to tire out the Braves. With West Holmes employing 10 players in and out of the lineup, the Braves were not as deep and began to tire.
“I thought our pressure started to wear them down in the second half,” Snyder said. “We were running a lot of kids in and out and were able to continue to keep up our pressure throughout the night. I thought that was pretty key in us gaining a lead in the second half.”
However tired they were, the Braves were not going to disappear and fought back late, overcoming a six-point deficit, thanks in large part to the sharpshooting of Karissa Bardall and Brenlyn Rostad, who helped send the game into overtime. Indian Valley even had a chance to win it in regulation off a steal, but a hustling Kinsey Patterson was able to get back and make a defensive play to save the day.
The first overtime saw neither team take command, but West Holmes continued its pressure, and it would take a toll on the Braves in the second overtime, where Wilcox took center stage with both Race and Alicia Alexander having fouled out.
“That put us in a tough spot, but I thought Hannah Rohr came in and really gave us some great minutes defensively when we needed it most,” Snyder said.
As for Wilcox, she said the senior simply took over.
“She was feeling it,” Snyder said of Wilcox, who threw in a career-high 28 points. “She shot with confidence, she got to the hoop and the team started to look for her because they could tell she wanted the ball. We were looking to get the ball into her hands as much as possible.”
As the Lady Knights built a lead, it was going to come down to making free throws, and Wilcox and Katrina Rolince were glad to help out. Wilcox made both of her shots late, and Rolince went 4-of-4 from the stripe to make sure West Holmes didn’t let this one slip away.
It was a gutsy win, and coupled with a terrific effort in a close loss to Wooster the game prior, it marked two strong efforts from the Lady Knights.
“I think this will help a lot for our confidence moving forward,” Snyder said. “Hopefully we just continue to build off of what we have started here as of late.”
Aside from Wilcox’s impressive 28-point effort, Sprang added 12 points for West Holmes (12-7) while Race added nine, Miller scored eight and Rolince added four, all in the final minutes on free throws. Indian Valley (11-8) was led by Bardall’s 19 and Rostad’s 16, and Indian Valley buried nine 3-pointers on the evening.
In the JV game West Holmes got 16 points from Kinsey Patterson, eight from Amy Hughes, and five apiece from Sage Miller and Chloe Shumaker. They withstood a fantastic last-ditch comeback effort by the Braves to claim a 46-44 win.