Through the next three quarters the scoring picked up on both ends but it was the Lady Falcons who made key plays in the final minutes to win 50-44 in Wheelersburg.
"Offensively, I thought we did good against their matchup man-to-man," Minford coach Mark Chaney said. "We had a couple turnovers late when we were trying to get some good (scoring) opportunities, instead of rushing shots... All in all, it turned out to be a pretty good game."
The league victory puts Minford at 9-4 in the SOC II, tied with Valley and South Webster for second place after Thursday night’s games.
"We've got one more SOC game next Thursday and if we win it... we'll have a chance to share second place this year," Chaney said. "Which is a good accomplishment considering we lost six seniors last year."
Last night's victory did not come easy for the Lady Falcons as they were out-rebounded 31-20. Not to mention the 25-point performance by Wheelersburg standout Erica Schmidt.
"We were really good in the first half... Our kids did a nice job of getting to open spots to get rebounds," Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said. "It kept us in (the game) early until we started shooting better, until Erica got going."
The Lady Pirates raked in 14 offensive rebounds in the game and cashed in on the second-chance opportunities, including four put-backs, as their offense heated up.
"We didn't rotate defensively like we normally do," Chaney said. "We were playing kind of slow and they got some easy buckets on us."
Schmidt drained three from behind the arc in the last four minutes before the break and Wheelersburg led 22-18 at halftime.
In a game that featured nine lead changes, the Lady Falcons proved they had a lot left in the tank. Two quick baskets tied the score at 22 in what became a 19-11 third quarter in favor of Minford.
"We have to keep preaching to them that every play counts," Spradlin said. "We play better through stretches of the game but we have to learn to do that through four quarters. That's just the way it is."
Midway through the fourth the teams were trading buckets but Minford's Kendra Justice gave her team the final lead with a three-point play with 1:33 remaining.
"We set a good double screen for her and she got a good look at the bucket," Chaney said. "Then Abby Donahoe had a good steal towards the end of the game at half-court. That kind of sealed it for us."
Justice finished with 11 points and three steals while Courtney Spriggs led her team with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Ali Shepherd added 10 points and five boards, Emma Shoemaker totaled nine points and Donahoe had seven.
The Lady Pirates drop to 5-7 in the SOC II with another close loss.
"(Coming up short) is kind of a common theme for the year," Spradlin said. "So many games we have been within one or two possessions and to be 1-7 in those eight games... it's frustrating.
"Part of it is we are a little bit young. Part of it is we need to learn to play a bit harder. And part of it is the teams that we are playing," Spradlin said. "Give them credit."
Schmidt led all scorers with 25 points to go with six rebounds. Kalyn Bailey had six points and seven rebounds while Molly Knapp had six rebounds.
Both squads will be back in action on Monday with non-league games. Wheelersburg hosts Raceland while Minford travels to South Point.
Minford 3 15 19 13 — 50
Wheelersburg 6 18 11 11 — 44
Minford — Spriggs 4 2 13, Donahoe 3 0 7, Justice 3 4 11, Shoemaker 4 0 9, Shepherd 4 2 10. Totals 18 8 50.
Wheelersburg — Bailey 2 2 6, M. Knapp 1 0 2, Prater 1 0 2, K. Knapp 2 0 4, Barrick 2 1 5, Schmidt 8 4 25. Totals 16 7 44.
3-pointers — Minford 6 (Spriggs 3, Donahoe, Justice, Shoemaker); Wheelersburg 5 (Schmidt 5)
Records — Minford 11-7 (9-4); Wheelersburg 7-10 (5-7)