PDT Sports Editor
WHEELERSBURG — It’s early in the 2012-2013 season, but potentially one of the best games of the SOC II slate happened Thursday night at Wheelersburg (5-0, 4-0) as the Lady Pirates beat the visiting Lady Jeeps of South Webster (3-2, 2-2) 45-41.
With 22.6 seconds left in the contest, the Jeeps narrowed the deficit to two points after Haley Stanley hit a 3-pointer, but Wheelersburg’s Brooklyn Adams hit the front end of a trip to the charity stripe and senior Fay Proehl came down with a rebound.
Proehl would make her first free throw attempt to make it 45-41 with three seconds to go, essentially sealing a big, early season win for the Lady Pirates.
“Can’t say enough about our kids,” Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said. “It’s so early in the season and before the season started we had a chance to see everyone in summer ball, and most everyone in the conference knew that this was going to be one of the better seasons for balance.”
The win did not come easy as the new-look Lady Pirates had a sloppy first quarter, compiling five turnovers and shooting only two of nine from the floor.
“We knew this was a big game coming in and we 12 of our 16 players are freshman or sophomores,” Spradlin said. “It’s a big game for them and early on I think it was nerves. They handled the nerves better than we did early in the game and we just told our kids to slow down, calm down and I think they did that.”
Kacie Hall paced the Lady Jeeps with six points in the opening stanza and gave South Webster an early 14-9 lead. However, Wheelersburg settled in during the second quarter, forcing the Lady Jeeps into seven turnovers and outscoring them 11-5.
Freshman Laiken Salyers gave the Lady Pirates a boost from the bench with four of her game total of eight points in the second quarter. A putback by Proehl as the final seconds of the first half expired knotted the game at 19.
A 5-1 run for the Lady Pirates pushed the scored to 24-20 before a South Webster timeout. After a Hall layup made it a 26-24 advantage for Wheelersburg, the scoring took a break and defenses took the spotlight as neither team made a basket for more than two minutes.
With the score at 31-28 entering the fourth, back-to-back Wheelersburg possessions that ended with successful jump shots from Sydney Holden and Salyers, respectively, made it 35-28.
The Lady Pirates held the Lady Jeeps scoreless through the first 3:30 of the fourth before South Webster began to threaten.
A Corey Sherman layup for the Lady Jeeps, followed by a Wheelersburg turnover and another Sherman layup made the score 39-38 with 3:10 to play.
Adams made a pair of free throws to make it 41-38 with two minutes to play and Proehl put a rebound back in to make it 43-38, but a huge block by Stanley with 49 seconds remaining followed by a missed free throw by Wheelersburg in the bonus gave the Lady Jeeps a chance.
Stanley found herself with space at the 3-point line and nailed a long jumper to make it 43-41 with 22.6 seconds left.
After Adams made her first free throw to make it 44-41 and missed her second chance, Proehl secured the win with a rebound in the paint and another free throw to take it to the 45-41 final for Wheelersburg.
“Fay Proehl’s role is totally different this season and we have leaned on her as our lone senior,” Spradlin said. “She has stepped up and has done a great job.”
Stanley led the Lady Jeeps with 14 points and also pulled down four rebounds. Hall was the second-leading scorer for the Jeeps with nine points and she also had an assist, two steals and six rebounds.
The Lady Pirates were led in scoring by Holden who collected a game-high 15 points. Holden also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and had two assists. Proehl was ‘Burg’s second leading scorer with 10 points and she also collected nine rebounds.
“There are things we certainly need to fix. We need to keep working to get better every day,” Spradlin said. “We told our kids to embrace the moment and enjoy it.”
Wheelersburg remains undefeated and will host Minford Monday. South Webster will get its chance to regroup at Waverly Monday.
South Webster 14 5 9 13 — 41
Wheelersburg - 8 11 12 14 — 45
South Webster — Sullivan 4-0-8, Blanton 1-1-3, Hall 3-3-9, Sherman 3-0-6, Stanley 5-2-14, Giles 0-1-1, Totals 16-7-41
Wheelersburg — Proehl 4-2-10, Holden 5-5-15, Stegman 2-2-6, Adams 1-3-6, Salyers 4-0-8, Totals 16-12-45
3-Point Goals: South Webster 2 (Stanley 2), Wheelersburg 1 (Adams)
Records: South Webster 3-2, 2-2; Wheelersburg 5-0, 4-0
Bob Strickley can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 298, or email@example.com.